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The Mercury Cars Guide : May 30th 2009
8— CARSguide Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, May 30, 2009 Renault pumps up the volume Ifyouwantto establishsome street credibility in the Australian market,youneed ahalo car, preferablya coupe, writes NeilMcDonald A FTER eight years of battling to re- establish its local identity, Renault Australia finally has a car that could pitch the brand into the mainstream, the Megane coupe. The company’s managing di- rector, Rudi Koenig, confirmed the coupe would join the line- up about June next year, with a hatch and sedan to follow. Koenig believes the new- generation Megane has the potential to be a volume player. It wants to start with the coupe to establish some credi- bility and recognition, much like the impact the Koleos has had among buyers, he says. The Megane will be pitched as a volume seller with keen pricing to attack the dominant Japanese players. ‘‘We will clearly be concen- trating on these Japanese riv- als,’’ Koenig says. That means pricing could start about $22,000 for an entry hatch, rising to VW Golf GTi territory for the performance- oriented coupe. ‘‘Megane will be a car in both hatch and sedan form that will be very important for us,’’ Koe- nig says. ‘‘The small car seg- ment is vital and it’s the seg- ment that produces the highest volume selling cars. We have to succeed in that segment.’’ Renault could have introduced the European-built Megane soon- er, but it would have had a premium European price. ‘‘In that segment, let’s face it, weare the weakest because our previous model’s shape wasn’t accepted in the market,’’ Koe- nig says. ‘‘The new Megane has a mature, sporty shape that has global appeal.’’ The coupe will be sourced from France. It has taken a long time to secure the new Megane be- cause Koenig wanted the ‘‘in- ternational’’ version of the hatch and sedan, which will be built in both Turkey and South Korea. STREET CRED: Renault is looking for the Megane coupe to be a big seller in Australia. ‘‘The basic design and DNA will be maintained, but some features will be specific to Australia,’’ he says. Renault Australia is now working out potential sourcing and has several options. It can import the hatch and sedan from Turkey, or from its Renault-Samsung affiliate in South Korea. ‘‘That will be decided before the end of this year,’’ Koenig says. ‘‘That’s one of the press- ing issues I will be discussing with Paris.’’ The sedan and hatch may even end up coming from dif- ferent plants and could have different names. ‘‘That’s to be sorted out,’’ Koenig says. ‘‘But we are determined to bring in a car that gives us a competitive edge, either in the vehicle itself or value proposi- tion.’’ The range-topping coupe ar- rives first, closely followed by a hatch and sedan by the end of next year. In Europe the coupe is avail- able with three petrol engines and three dCi turbo-diesel en- gines. Renault Australia is expected to go for one or two highly specified models. At the top end the choices are a six-speed manual 134kW/ 300Nm 2.0-litre TCe petrol tur- bo, or a 104kW/195Nm normal- ly aspirated petrol four with CVT transmission, as well as a 96kW/300Nm 1.9-litre dCi with a six-speed manual. In Europe even the entry model gets 16-inch alloys, air- conditioning, electronic stabil- ity control with anti-skid regu- lation and under-steer control, six airbags, electric-heated body-coloured door mirrors, cruise control and electric win- dows.
May 23rd 2009
June 6th 2009