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Renault Alaskan ute set for 2020 launch

If all goes to plan, Renault Australia will offer its Alaskan pick-up Down Under by 2020.

Renault’s Alaskan pick-up is now on track for a 2020 launch, with the brand's local arm working through Australian Design Rule (ADR) changes before it can confirm an official release date.

Renault Australia managing director Andrew Moore said that the firm had been working hard to get the Nissan Navara-based dual-cab off the line.

“The Alaskan we’re looking at is out of Spain, where it is currently produced in right-hand drive (RHD), so we’re just working on the case for Australia” he said.

“I can’t confirm it at this point, but I feel quite confident that we’ll be able to get that vehicle into Australia. Based on where it is right now, it’ll probably be a stretch to make it into 2019 – maybe late 2019, but early 2020 is more realistic.

“We still have to tick it off, and even ordering takes six months. There’s still some development around ADRs and so forth, but it’s minor development compared to full RHD development.”

Before Mr Moore took the reigns, the Alaskan program was put on indefinite hold as it was considered too expensive to compete with mainstream rivals like the Thai-built Navara, but under the new management, Renault Australia is committed to making it work.

Renault will likely balance its ute offerings by importing the Oroch pick-up, which is expected to come in under $30,000.

According to Mr Moore, adding more standard equipment and pushing for factory-backed accessories should justify a higher price tag, putting it in competition with higher-end rivals like the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.

“Similar to the Kadjar (SUV that has just been confirmed for Australia mid-next year), it’s more about my confidence in the product and strategy approach that is different (from previous Renault Australia management),” Mr Moore explained.

“Obviously, being sourced from Europe means a higher cost than from Thailand, and I think previously (it was decided) that we just cannot compete in the low end.

“And that’s true – the Alaskan won’t be as cheap. So, what we want to do is differentiate our product, and if you have a look at the pick-up segment, so many of the purchases are high-end, image-based purchases.

“The success of the Ranger is all around the Wildtrak, similar scenario with the Toyota HiLux. We believe the Alaskan, with its European styling, looks terrific, and we’re working heavily with the factory on developing more elements like wheelarch fenders and sports bars to give it a distinct look and distinct image.”

Renault will likely balance its ute offerings by importing the Oroch pick-up, which is expected to come in under $30,000, allowing the French brand to attract both high- and low-end buyers.

However, the Oroch is still not produced in right-hand drive, so a local launch wouldn't happen until 2021 at the earliest.

“The idea of the dual pick-up strategy is that customers who want to spend sub-$35,000 have the Oroch, while customers looking for an image-based truck have the Alaskan that has everything,” he said.

“The spec level of the Alaskan out of Europe will be better than the Navara – but I don’t want to compete with the Navara. I want to compete with the Wildtraks, HiLuxes and Amaroks.

“It’s a change of strategy that plays on the strengths of the vehicle.”

Would the Navara-based Renault Alaskan perform well in Aussie showrooms? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section below.

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