Renault Sport has confirmed the new-generation Clio RS will not be available with a manual gearbox, instead sticking with the dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The next Clio RS is due to arrive in about 2020, though Renault Sport head of international sales Jean Calcat has revealed the hot hatch will never be equipped with a manual again as customer demand continues to decline.
“If you look at the numbers, we roughly sold the same number of Clio IV RS that we did Clio III RS, except we didn’t sell them in the same markets.
“In a manual market like UK, it was not very well received, but in other markets its reception was just great, such as in Japan, where it works very well. So that’s compensation.
“Now, the product is reaching the end of its lifespan, so we will not invest with going with a manual gearbox. The ideal car would have been the Clio 16 Concept, and we really looked at producing it in small quantities like we did with the Clio V6.
“Our managing director Patrice Ratti really wanted to market the car, but at the end of the day, we had to accept the fact from the pure profitability standpoint it didn’t make any sense.
“Had it come two years before, we would have been able to sell the numbers that justify going into full production, but the car was shown only in 2016.”
The larger Megane RS hot hatch does, however, offer both a manual gearbox and an automatic transmission.
“In some markets like Australia, Megane is considered a very compact car, but in Europe it is still considered the right size. This is why we said if we are going to invest in two transmissions, then let’s do it with the Megane – there’s more potential” explained Mr Calcat.
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