The compact Fluence sedan has since been removed from Renault’s public website, though Fadeyev says there are still “a small number of vehicles available through the Renault dealer network for customers”.
The Renault Fluence failed to catch on in Australia. Sales peaked at 593 in 2011 – its first full year on sale after being introduced late in 2010 – but plummeted to 167 by 2013 and limped to just 139 last year. Renault failed to sell any Fluences in the first two months of this year, leaving its total Australian sales tally at 1434.
Fluence models sold in Australia were built in South Korea at the Renault Samsung Motors factory in Busan.
Australian-spec cars were powered by a 103kW/195Nm 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and available with an automatic continuously variable transmission and a six-speed manual (later dropped from the range).
Renault Australia had planned to launch the pure-electric, battery-swapping Fluence Z.E. in 2012 but was forced to abandon those plans in 2013 when electric vehicle network provider Better Place announced its decision to wind down its local operations.
The decision to axe the Fluence from Renault’s showrooms has been a relatively recent one. Just last month, Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar told us there were no plans to ditch either the Fluence or the equally slow-selling Latitude sedan, light-heartedly saying “we love all of our children”.
“We have those sedans for some traditional buyers in our range, for some fleet business as well, and therefore it ticks along, they’re not big numbers, but they’re organic numbers, they just tend to happen for us,” Hocevar told us last month.
“We don’t tend to put a lot of marketing spend behind those vehicles, and therefore we can continue without it being a burden on the business.
“We may change our position with the next generations of those vehicles, we may decide to change our approach, but at this point in time we’re focusing on our hatches, our crossovers and our commercial vehicle range.”
Renault Australia today told us that the decision to drop the Fluence from local showrooms was "a business decision and unrelated to Justin's previous comments".