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Renault introduces diesel


A Megane diesel sedan and the red-hot RenaultSport Megane R26 lead the way, and will be joined by a half-dozen other newcomers within a year.

Diesel will be a big deal for Renault, but it is also looking closely at a return for the baby Clio and is banking on the success of a mid-sized four-wheel-drive.

“Next year is the start of the Renault product revolution. We'll get our share of the new vehicles,” says Renault Australia managing director Rudi Koenig. “We're looking at in excess of 3000 cars. The plan is between 3000 and 3500, depending very much on how the sedan goes and the uptake of diesel.”

Koenig already knows the R26 hot hatch will be a sellout, despite lifting the order from 30 to 80 cars for Australia. He is more concerned about the diesel Megane. He believes the car will be pivotal to the success of the sedan version, which has not polarised people in the same way as the “J.Lo” butt on the hatch.

“Diesel is the critical vehicle for us. We hang our hat on the sedan, and the diesel gives us pretty well the lowest-priced diesel in the market,” Koenig says. “We've got to have a car that gives us consistent volume we can build the brand on. And we haven't had that.”

But he denies the success or failure of the Megane diesel which will decide the future of Renault in Australia.

“It's never make-or-break. Renault is very much committed to this market and we have a lot of product coming in the future. We're hoping for about 40 diesels a month. That would make it about 40 per cent of our Megane sedan volume, and the biggest individual Renault model.”

And there is much more to come. Even if Renault Australia has ruled out the baby Twingo for Australia. Koenig says the Clio is looking good, there will be a revitalised flagship, and the production version of the Koleos concept vehicle.

“Next year we will get the new Laguna in the second quarter, the Clio 3 RS version also, and we will get the SUV. The production version of the SUV, which is called Koleos as a concept, is going to be launched next month at the Frankfurt Show and we'll have it at the end of next year.

“Clio 3 is a great car and we're studying the production situation very closely.”