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'Here for the long haul': Renault remains committed to Australia amid 'premium alternative' push

The new-generation Captur light SUV will enter Renault Australia showrooms in the first quarter of next year.

Renault has reconfirmed it is planning to remain in Australia “for the long haul”, as it continues to establish itself “as a premium alternative to the mainstream brands”.

Speaking to journalists yesterday, Renault Australia managing director Anouk Poelmann reiterated the company’s commitment to the market, at time when some of its rivals are either pulling out or significantly restructuring.

“Since we were last together, the Australian automotive landscape has changed dramatically. Holden has announced its departure from the market, while Honda and Mercedes have signalled their shifts to an agency model,” she said.

“I want to start today be assuring you Renault is not contemplating either of those outcomes. We are here for the long haul, with a model line-up that puts our brands in the middle of the largest and most profitable market segments.”

That said, Ms Poelmann acknowledged the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has so far materialised in a 20.2 per cent decrease in year-to-date sales for the Australian new-vehicle market, including a 33.4 per cent drop for Renault itself.

“As the world adjusts to a new context, the importance of brand becomes even more relevant to consumers,” she said. “With passion and fight at the core of Renault, we see this as an opportunity to grow and cement our position in this market.”

Ms Poelmann added that despite the challenges of 2020 and beyond, “we continue our journey to reposition Renault as an aspirational option for Australians”.

“Our European heritage, French design and passion for life put us in a good place to be a credible contender as a premium alternative to the mainstream brands,” she said.

“We are accessible to discerning Australians confident in their choices and seeking an alternative to the mainstream.”

Having conducted customer research, Renault Australia believes it knows who it needs to target, with its marketing director, Felix Boulin, explaining its buyers have a passion for travel, food, wine and new technologies.

“We understand we cannot be all things to all people,” he said. “However, we are confident we can be a brand that appeals to 10 per cent of Australians, based on our brand attributes and the channels we use to promote them.”

As reported in detail in the links above, Renault Australia is in the process of overhauling its model line-up in the short term, with the Clio and Zoe light hatchbacks, and Kadjar small SUV discontinued, with the latter to be ‘replaced’ by the coupe-style Arkana.