Currently, Renault Australia enjoys a market share of around 1.0 per cent. Normand is targeting an ambitious 3.5 per cent market share, bringing the French brand into line with its global sales reach. If successful, that would see Renault sell around 40,000 cars in Australia, annually. Currently, Renault sells around 12,000 vehicles here, about half of which are light commercial vehicles.
“I guess we can be reasonably happy, but we have to remain humble,” Normand told CarAdvice in Paris last week. “Five years ago we were very far from where we are [today]. We have to grow progressively. We are reasonably happy because we are growing the brand, the dealer network is reasonably happy, our customers are reasonably happy.
“Now we are still at a little bit less than 1.0 per cent market share and Renault has, globally, 3.5 per cent market share. Ideally, we want to be around 3.5 per cent share in any market we do operate in.”
Above: demand of the the new Koleos SUV in top-shelf specification appears to be outstripping supply
Normand added that key to the brand in Australia is passenger car sales, a segment he believes can grow. Renault Australia’s managing director Justin Hocevar acknowledged he was targeting growth in passenger cars sales.
“The launch of the new Koleos is hitting all of our expectations,” he said. “The biggest challenge at the moment is the uptake of the highest-specification version – which we priced very competitively at the market – is greater than what we had planned. We are asking for more [product] and I know everything is being done to try and accommodate that.
“From a passenger-car point of view, we now have this arrival, this time we can now start to really build our credibility there. We’ve built really good credibility in our LCV business and our share and strength there, we’re one of the most significant European van brands in Australia. We now need to work on our passenger vehicles and we now have the right products to do that.”
Ironically, one vehicle that Renault Australia is desperate to gets its hand but on which no decision has been made, is the brand’s first foray into the competitive ute segment, the Renault Alaskan. Although widely tipped to hit Australian dealerships, the Nissan Navara-based one-tonne pick-up has not been confirmed for Australia.
Above: the new-generation Renault Megane, now on sale in Australia.
“It’s on the table, but there is no decision at this point,” said Normand. “For the time being, there is nothing announced for Asia-Pacific.”
Hocevar added: “Until you’ve got the final contract, nothing’s confirmed, [but] Renault Australia definitely wants the vehicle.”
Despite the challenges facing Renault Australia of tripling its market share in an already hugely competitive environment, Normand said overall he was very happy with how Australia was performing for the French manufacturer.
“We are still a small player,” he said. But we are growing regularly. We are happy with this trend.”