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2018 Renault Alaskan ute to be positioned as semi-premium

Renault Australia has revealed that their Alaskan ute – which will likely get a local release sometime next year – will be positioned as a semi-premium product, ahead of the platform-sharing Nissan Navara that is marketed towards tradies.

Unlike its Japanese cousin, Renault will target the Alaskan at older buyers who are more likely to use their ute for towing and recreational purposes, similar to how Volkswagen markets their Amarok.

Speaking at the media launch for the Trafic Crew and updated Kangoo, Renault Australia light-commercial vehicles boss Lyndon Healey said positioning the Alaskan as a semi-premium offering was critical, so that it can co-exist with the tradie-focused Navara and the premium Mercedes-Benz X-Class – which also shares its platform with the Renault-Nissan twins.

Fleet sales  – which are the domain of the Navara – will not be on the agenda for the Alaskan, with buyers over the age of 60 being the focus for the new ute due to their familiarity with the Renault brand over the years, according to Mr Healey.

Renault Australia still has a strong interest in the Alaskan being sold Down Under.

The French manufacturer is also cautious of taking away any of Nissan's sales, which Mr Healey says will be achieved by establishing a unique value equation for the Alaskan when compared to the Navara.

Mr Healey also confirmed that Renault Australia still has a strong interest in the Alaskan being sold Down Under, but its arrival is at least 12 months away as the local arm continues to mount its case for the new product.

"If it was our own product, those things we'd have full control over and we could sign away. The reality is that it's an alliance product, so you've got Nissan in there as well – there's a lot of extra negotiation involved," he said.

"There's nothing worse than getting a product that you're not happy with in some respects be it product, price or reassurance. We'll get there, but it it's just a long process."

A 2.3-litre twin-turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine – which currently produces 140kW/450Nm when used in high-spec Navara variants – is likely to be employed locally by the French ute, if it does launch here.

Would you pay a premium for an Alaskan or X-Class over more run-of-the-mill models like the Navara and Hilux? Tell us what you think in the comments below.