We always knew the Renault Clio RS was popular in Australia — you may recall the long-term loaner we had in our Melbourne office — but here’s a statistic that puts it into perspective.
This week we popped by Renault’s small plant in the coastal city of Dieppe, where Clio bodies-in-white are transported and turned into RS hot hatches, with their new drivetrains (made by Nissan Japan), cabins, suspension and body add-ons.
A small facility, the Dieppe site partially hand-assembles 30 Clio RS models per day, five days per week. That’s about 7800 units per year.
Renault Australia is on track to sell more than 700 units of the Clio RS this year, meaning not far from 10 per cent of all the world’s Clio RS models find homes Down Under — quite remarkable considering we’re a relative minnow in the overall Renault world.
In fact, Renault Australia last year, with just over 10,000 total sales (up more than 40 per cent, incidentally), made up less than 0.4 per cent of the company’s global total. In the hot hatch area, Australia defines the term “punching above our weight”.
In fact, about one-in-four of all Clio models sold this year will be RS versions, priced between $29,490 and $37,490 plus on-road costs.
Renault Sport sales in Australia are among the highest anywhere, alongside France, the UK, Germany and Japan. No wonder half the cars made in Dieppe are right-hand drive.
For some time our market was the world number two for Megane RS, though the Clio outsells its bigger brother these days.