Preferably in facelifted form
The relatively-new Renault Australia management has put the Kadjar small-SUV back on its radar, preferably in updated guise during 2019.
Given the SUV market's continued growth — it accounts for more of the market than traditional passenger cars — the car would clearly help Renault shift more cars.
The decision to re-open the Kadjar business case was confirmed to us today by new-ish Renault Australia managing director, Andrew Moore, who joined in September last year.
It’s not yet confirmed, but a decision is in the works. If the Kadjar were to come Down Under – and it's hard to imagine it won't – it would be the facelifted version, which we can expect to see later this year.
The issue preventing Renault from launching the Kadjar under its well-regarded previous managing director, Justin Hocevar, was down to price. It’s made in Spain, an expensive place from which to source cars.
Were Renault to have originally launched the Kadjar, it’s understood the car would've either retailed at a higher price than the Koleos — making it a hard sell — or have pushed Renault to make the Koleos more expensive.
For context, the X-Trail-based Koleos is made in Korea, which helps keep pricing low. It currently retails from $29,990 drive-away for the base car.
That said, the Qashqai comes from the UK and kicks off at $26,490 before on-road costs, which is roughly where the base Kadjar would need to sit.
After a long period of sustained double-digit growth and a near-tripling of its dealer network, Renault’s sales here have plateaued, despite the arrival of product like the new Megane and the already mentioned Koleos.
Sales dipped about 3 per cent last year to 10,812 units, giving it 0.9 per cent market share. That's despite having a range of passenger cars, SUVs and vans to offer, a good warranty and affordable servicing costs, thanks in part to leveraging partner Nissan’s established supply chain.
Moore also told us the company was revisiting the Alaskan pickup, with a focus on the higher end of the ute market. Its Pro + commercial dealers would clearly be calling out for it...