Dacia isn’t the only answer for Renault

  15 October 2012

As we all know, Renault is not the size it used to be. 2012 has seen a lot of changes within the network, to volumes and to the range of vehicles on offer.

However, things are looking up. This week I drove the new Clio – traditionally Renault’s biggest seller – and it’s a cracking supermini. It’s fun, good looking, comfortable, practical and best of all a great price. Just what Renault needs. And as is so with lots of superminis now, you can customise the car to your heart’s content.

The thing that puzzled me though, was the absence of senior UK management at the launch of the car. It may seem like a minor point from a grumbling journalist, but this is Renault’s biggest selling car. So you’d expect someone to be singing the car’s praises and setting out how it will fare in the UK.

If this were an isolated instance I wouldn’t have brought this point up, but there were also no senior UK executives at the unveiling of the Clio at the Paris motor show a couple of weeks ago.

It’s as if either the cutbacks have scared the brand into hiding, or the launch of Dacia has their attentions focused elsewhere.

I can understand that sales of the new Clio aren’t going to be what they were a few years ago, (in 2002 Renault sold more than 86,000 Clios, against 23,000 last year) but that doesn’t stop it being an excellent value supermini that will sell well in today’s market.

Let’s hope that when the new Clio arrives in UK showrooms at the start of next year there’s a bit more confidence and the launch isn’t in shadow of Dacia’s introduction. Because if that happens and the excellent Clio doesn’t sell well, Renault will face even bigger trouble than it’s been through in the recent past.

Tristan Young

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