Renault design chief Laurens van den Acker told CarAdvice that the 2016 Megane will be one of the last models in the French brand’s range to be revamped, following a long line of new cars that have launched already or will launch soon.
“The Espace is the first of a wave of C/D segment vehicles which are all based on the CMF1 platform,” he said of the joint platform that underpins the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail and will also be used under the two new SUVs Renault is seeking to introduce soon.
“We’ve done all the small cars – the Clio, the Captur, the Twingo et cetera – we did all the Dacias, and now over the next few years we’ll roll out all of the big cars, the mid-size and big ones,” he said.
The European market is expected to take the car ahead of Australia, based on a comment from van den Acker.
“When you are going to see it? Or when we are going to see it?” he posited, before adding “I think here [in Europe] it’s planned for 2016.”
Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar told CarAdvice that the local market could indeed have some time to wait between the European introduction and the car hitting local showrooms.
“We’ve still got a reasonable wait,” Hocevar said.
“The car has just had a facelift and also the rollout of the new 1.2-litre motor and the EDC transmission. It has certainly had a substantial freshen up,” he said. “It’s not just a new set of headlights and a new set of tail-lights.”
Hocevar said the current Megane offers better value than it ever has, and that he expects that the age of the car – which launched internationally in 2008 – won’t adversely affect its sales in what is one of the toughest-fought segments of the new-car market. We take that to mean there will be some handsome deals offered by the French brand going forward.
“We’ve been very competitive, when you look at that car spec-adjusted, from a retail pricing point of view, for a spec-adjusted point of view, and even from a tactical point of view with the number of programs we’ve done to add value on that car, I think we’re going to see it continue to grow in sales,” he said.
“It’s not as new as some of its competitors, there’s no doubt about it. But some of its competitors don’t have that level of specification at that price point. Nor do they have a five-year warranty, nor do they have capped-price servicing,” he said.
Hocevar said he expects introduction of mainstream sports models like the GT-Line will help in that regard.
“Where we’re starting to see big growth in the Megane is in GT-Line,” he said.
“Our stock wasn’t as strong as we would have liked,” he said of September’s sales figures, where Megane sales dipped by 56 per cent to just 62 units – a huge 3952 units fewer than the class-leading Mazda 3.
“But I think between now and the end of the year we will see some recovery,” he said.