Speaking at this week’s Renault Megane RS275 Trophy and Clio RS Monaco GP local drive event in Tasmania, the French car maker’s local division confirmed that year-to-date sales figures have the Clio RS ahead of its Megane RS bigger brother by more than 150 units.
“It’s just gone ahead,” Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar said.
“[And] I think we will certainly see Clio RS sales surpass Megane RS sales [by the end of the year]. It appeals to a much broader part of the market.”
Representing 11 per cent of total Renault sales in Australia, the twin RS model line-up is currently split at 549 Clio RS units to 398 Megane RSs – a swing not seen since the three-door manual-only Clio III outshone its larger sibling just prior to the late-year arrival of the third-generation Megane RS four years ago.
The two cars are also, individually and combined, maintaining Australia’s position as the second highest selling country for Renault Sport models behind only France.
Asked if there was any trepidation attached to having Clio RS surpass the brand’s ultimate halo car, Hocevar responded by saying, “No, not at all.”
“We’d always, I wouldn’t say expected, but we certainly hoped that Clio RS would exceed Megane simply because it’s a five-door vehicle and it has an automatic transmission and that just opens it up to a so much bigger part of the market.
“Megane RS has got that little bit of a harder edge to it and obviously being a three-door manual-only vehicle is always going to limit its potential in the market. I think if we were selling less Clio RSs than Megane RSs, I’d be concerned.”
Claiming a history that stretches back 115 years, the local MD said regardless of the sibling rivalry, Renault Sport overall is “doing wonders” for the marque in Australia.
“We’re very happy with the way Renault Sport brings the halo to the brand,” Hocevar said.
“On a sales level, I think the success we’ve had with the GT line and the other GT variants also goes to show that there is that relationship of Renault Sport cascading also in visual respect and suspension tuning and so on.
“I think that RS has been a key contributing factor, it’s not the sole contributing factor, but it’s part of the multi-dimensional approach to rebuilding the brand.
“I like to think that we’ve had to win the hearts and minds of people. So to win the heart you’ve got to have a little bit of passion, and that’s where Renault Sport comes into play.”
As popular as RS models have proven to be locally, however, and despite earlier reports of an RS Captur being "under discussion", Hocevar said there are currently no plans to expand the range.
“We don’t have any visibility or any plans let’s say, within our SUV products – certainly not within the current lifecycle of Koleos for example – and we don’t have visibility of anything with Captur.
“We’d certainly like to see a little bit of Renault Sport magic applied to some of those products in the future but there’s nothing on the radar just yet.”
Not expected to been seen before 2016, Hocevar said while it’s still too early to tell if the next-generation Megane RS will be influenced by the fourth-generation Clio RS’s successful shift to a five-door, automatic-only model (pictured above), it would always live up to the Renault Sport name.
“I don’t see that the company will ever divert from that.
“I think that in a perfect world we’d like to produce cars in infinite number of variations to suit all customers. The economic reality is that you’ve got to produce vehicles that suit your target audience and I’m sure the next generation car will be aimed squarely at getting the right customers to the brand.”
Currently, the Renault Clio RS range starts at $29,290, the Megane RS at $43,990.
Read our Renault Megane RS275 Trophy Review here.