Renault Sport Cars makes no bones about its interest in developing a crossover SUV derivative that offers signature bang-for-buck, to expand its portfolio beyond the Clio and Megane.
The French company’s sporty division - while fiercely proud of its track-honed performance offerings - simply faces the challenge of making one that doesn’t water-down its brand, says RS Cars managing director Patrice Ratti.
“There’s a market for it,” says Ratti. “Now the market is very upscale, you see Porsche, Lamborghini, Maserati there, so if we’re able to find a way to do it at Renault Sport prices, there’s probably a market for that.”
“But it’s not an easy thing to do. If we do it we need to have good handling, and enough power.
“… Look at what happened with Porsche: most of their sales are now Cayenne and Macan, and it didn’t damage their brand because they did a good product.”
Ratti spoke with us at the world reveal of the new Megane RS a few weeks ago. In detailing the philosophy of that car, we can extrapolate.
“In our history of Megane we have never been the most powerful of the segment, but have often been fastest on a circuit. Our objective is not to have the most powerful.”
Renault Sport Cars (RSC) is 18 months into a major business plan, which demands a doubling of global sales between 2014-18. RSC runs development and commercialisation of all RS, GT and GT-Line Renault road cars.
Part of this will come from developing-market cars, such as the Sandero RS for Latin America, but the company has also said that it is working on “several projects” to expand its portfolio in Europe and beyond.
It’s worth remembering here that Australia is a global top-five player for Renault Sport sales - punching well above its weight.
The Renault Sport subsidiary started, dedicated to racing, in 1976, and included the Alpine and Giordini marques. Last year it sold 45,000 RS, GT and GT-Line models and will do 50k this year, based on projections.