Renault Australia is no closer to confirming whether the company’s first foray into the lucrative dual-cab ute segment, the Renault Alaskan, will make it Down Under.
Launched onto the South American market at the end of 2016, the Nissan Navara-based Alaskan, made its European debut at the end of last year. However, despite Australia’s appetite for workhorse utes, there has been no confirmation of when we will see the Alaskan Down Under, if ever.
Renault Australia’s new managing director, Andrew Moore, told CarAdvice he would love to add the Alaskan to the brand’s local portfolio.
“I believe there is a huge opportunity for the Renault brand in dual-cabs in Australia,” he said. “Obviously dual-cabs is a massive market so I have said to my team that we have to ramp up our activities to find a dual-cab that will suit the Australian market and the requirements.
“So it’s high on my radar. That’s not saying it’s a short-term thing, but we want to make sure we get it right.”
Moore added the Alaskan was a logical local fit for Renault Australia, considering the brand’s strong presence in the Light Commercial Vehicle segment in this country.
“For me it’s an important vehicle because Renault is so strong in the LCV space, number-one European brand, number three overall without an automatic option for Trafic,” he said.
“So we’ve got all these customers that are similar-type customers to dual-cab pick-up customers. We’ve also got small fleet buyers, that might buy five cars, three Renaults and two dual-cabs off a dealer. And obviously the two dual-cabs are another brand. So there’s a real opportunity for us in there.
“We’ve got dealers set up to sell to these types of customers because they’re already doing it with vans.”
One stumbling block could be Renault’s reluctance to offer the Alaskan in right-hand drive variants. Like Australia, the United Kingdom has seen its launch of the dual-cab delayed with some reports stating “indefinitely”, as the French giant works out whether enough RHD examples can be sold globally to make a good business case.
Moore acknowledged the difficulties facing Renault in building a good business model for a RHD Alaskan, particularly for the Australian market where the competition in the ute segment is strong.
“To me, it makes perfect sense,” he said. “We’ve just got to get the vehicle right. It’s no good bringing it in if it doesn’t stack up. We have to find an option for a dual-cab in Australia that works.”