Well Its Goodbye from Laguna & Goodbye from Espace as Renault Wields the Axe On Its Products and its Dealers
Strange times indeed when a major car manufacturer drops vehicles that have become household names but that’s just what Renault have announced as Laguna, Espace, Modus, Kangoo car and Wind coupe are all chopped from the UK model line up. That also means no Laguna Sport Tourer, Laguna Coupe,
Not only is it product being dropped, but its Renault dealers as well and as many as 55 may lose the franchise reducing the present 190 UK dealers to around 135 by the end of the year and that’s almost a 30% reduction.
Other changes will see Renault pull out of the daily rental market and Motability, which are traditionally less profitable areas of business and concentrate on retail sales and fleet sales to companies. It will also see Renault introduce the “Dacia” range into its showrooms alongside Renault.
So what’s gone wrong? Well firstly, it’s a difficult market at the moment, but that’s not the reason for this as Renaults share of the UK market has been dropping for some time as customers simply bought product from other manufacturers.
Renault just hasn’t been flavour of the week in recent years, and that’s difficult to understand why when looking at the product as it is today, but look back a bit longer and the product was abysmally unreliable and we know from our own fleet that they cost more to run than many of their competitors vehicles.
However, that’s changed and Renault product is now amongst the most reliable and offers a really competitive package, particularly with the recently announced 4 year 100,000 mile warranty which is more comprehensive than any other mainstream manufacturer, only being beaten by Hyunda and Kia.
On the road, they perform well and are good things to drive and you would be happy to live with a Renault in your life, however people have long memories and if you’ve been bitten by a shark, you just aren’t going to jump back in the water the next day.
What does the future hold for Renault, well long term, providing the quality stays as high as it presently is and they keep the pricing as competitive as possible, they will attract new customers to the Renault brand and that’s got to be their objective as its going to be an easy sell with the quality and attractiveness of the current product although you have to believe its going to take a little longer to tempt the guy with the shark bite back.
Renault now intend to concentrate on what they cal the “Va Va Voom” models and believes the transferable 4yr 100,000 mile warranty will give its customers the peace of mind they need, and will help keep second hand values high and that’s likely to be true. The introduction of the Dacia brand, which is apparently Europe’s fastest growing brand of vehicle will provide more interest and give buyers another reason to visit the Renault showrooms.
For sure, Renault isn’t going to disappear, its here to stay and it deserves to be here, its modern, innovative and dare I say, makes some exciting vehicles and in the years to come, its likely that its close allegiance and sharing of technology with Nissan will see the range expand further.
Presently, Renault is investing vast sums of money into electric vehicle technology and is launching the ZE range in the UK which will include Kangoo Van, Twizy, Fluence and Zoe. It is possible that Laguna and Espace might be reintroduced to the UK at a later date however, in the D-segment of the market its hard to compete against market leaders Ford and Vauxhall, and to highlight that, the 5 models being dropped which are Laguna, Espace, Modus, Kangoo Car and Wind Coupe, accounted for just 10% of Renault sales in the UK.