Renault Sport will seek to double its sales over the next few years, and while much of this is expected to come from the next-generation (five-door-only Megane RS), it looks like also necessitating the addition of a whole new RS derivative.
The French brand’s in-house performance arm makes the Clio RS and track-honed Megane RS, and also fettles ‘lesser’ Renault GT and GT-Line models. Australia is one of its biggest markets, making up 10 per cent of global Clio RS sales and a top-two country for Megane RS.
Currently it sells about 35,000 to 340,00 of its RS models worldwide each year, but has stated that it wants to sell double this within four years. “That’s our ambition,” said Renault Sport sales and marketing chief Regis Fricotte.
The draw is obvious, given RS models operate with higher margins. Fricotte, naturally, says RS is open to working on other derivatives, and was actively looking into where to put its energies.
“Of course we do that, all the time. Thats our job,” Fricotte told us. “Our objective is to develop and to grow sales of RS.
“So obviously we look at every option that there is to derivate some cars. For example, Espace, it doesn’t make sense…. [But an] SUV? We can look at, it’s part of the options we have.
“If you look at all the other manufacturer you can see SUVs with all the sports versions, so there is no reason we should not look at it. I’m not telling you there’s going to be one and when, but obviously we look at it and if it is feasible and there is a market for us… why not?
Of course, it may just be that Renault does something like a Captur GT, rather than a full-fat RS.
One thing for sure is there will not be a dedicated Renault Sport model, with the company set only on making sporty derivatives of existing Renault cars. Renault has brought back its sporty subsidiary Alpine to serve that role, with RS helping on chassis tuning.
Naturally, much of this growth will come from the 2017 Megane RS, which as we know will be a five-door only (unlike the current coupe), have four-wheel-steering and potentially a dual-clutch auto gearbox only — though a push from our market and Europe means a manual may continue.
This version will also have a performance figure nudging 300 horsepower (223kW), given RS expects the hot hatch market to grow at about 5hp per annum overall. It may also sport a reworked version of the current car’s 2.0-litre turbocharged unit.