Self-shifting van is still a long way off, but Renault is working away.
There's something holding the Renault Trafic back in Australia. No matter how sharply it's marketed, or how well it's priced, buyers want automatics, and the French brand doesn't offer one Down Under.
Even tradies are avoiding three-pedal cars like the proverbial locally. Manual vans make up just 30 per cent of the market in which the Trafic competes, making its nine per cent segment share impressive. That share would also be frustrating for Renault, given the potential offered by a self-shifting option.
Speaking with CarAdvice earlier this week, Renault Australia managing director, Andrew Moore, said his team is more than keen to get its hands on an automatic Trafic, but it's not the work of a moment.
"We're pushing heavily for it, there is discussions around it," Moore said, sitting in a Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi distribution warehouse.
"I'd like to think 12, 18 months away there might be a vehicle in auto," he continued.
Moore, who knew all too well we'd ask about an automatic gearbox, was happy with how the Trafic is tracking given its transmission situation, and said low supply was been hindering the van into the end of financial year.
"Trafic is up this year 15 per cent, and it would actually be up further – we've just had two months of very low levels of supply because we've been selling far above expectation," he explained.
"So the end of March, we were 25 per cent up year-on-year, and actually when I arrived in October/November for this year's budget it was actually forecast to go down..."
"We're at 10 per cent [9.0 per cent according to June VFACTS] of market share, the manual market is about 30 per cent, 35 per cent of the total van market... if we had an automatic, we could probably be another 10 per cent share. We'd probably cannibalise a bit into the manual," Moore added.
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