Next generation Renaults will take their styling cues from the Trezor concept

Next generation Renaults will take their styling cues from the Trezor concept

Alpine and Dacia were the first marques for a four-part series concerning Groupe Renault. Future model plans for RSM's Samsung brand made up the second feature, and now Renault's current and next generation passenger vehicles are examined. The number of models means this has been split into two parts. Below are A, B, C and D segment vehicles. The final instalment will be on crossovers/SUVs, monospaces/MPVs, pick-ups and EVs.

Groupe Renault - up for sale?

Depending on who wins the presidential election, 2017 could prove to be an historic year for Renault. Former PM François Fillon stated in December that if elected he would sell the state's 20 per cent holding in Renault S.A. Would the interests of Nissan Motor, the obvious potential buyer, be best served by using a substantial chunk of its cash reserves to become a 35 per cent majority owner? That's only one question among many for the implications of the 19.73 per cent of Renault presently held by the Agence des participations de l'État potentially being in play from later in the year.

Results for 2016

Given how hard it was hit by the Great Recession, Groupe Renault is in remarkably good financial shape. The company's main brand has little by little moved itself into second position ahead of Ford in Europe, thanks mostly to the intelligent decisions taken in recent years to invest in ever more new and additional models. Volkswagen, Toyota, Opel-Vauxhall, Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen, Ford and other brands haven't been as active in crossovers and SUVs, and/or replacing old cars. They are now paying the price for this tardiness.

Last year saw record deliveries for Groupe Renault worldwide, sales rising by 13.3 per cent to 3,182,625 passenger vehicles and LCVs. It was also the best year yet for the Renault brand.

Sales outlook for 2017

According to a statement issued to the media earlier in January, Renault sees the global market for new vehicles this year expanding by 1.5 to 2 per cent compared to 2016. The European region should show a gain of 2 per cent, with the same increase forecast for France.

Brazil and Russia should "become stable", the company believes. As for China and India, Renault sees these markets having respectively five and eight per cent higher sales.

Readers seeking details of the current and future versions of the following vehicles should consult the Dacia report: Dokker, Duster, Lodgy, Logan and Sandero.

A segment/Mini-car

Strictly speaking, the Twizy is not a passenger car, but a quadricycle. Nevertheless, as it is marketed in many countries through Renault's usual dealer channels, it appears in this report.

A concept, the Twizy Z.E., had its world premiere at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2009. That vehicle was a tall and tiny 1+1-seater that was claimed to be powered by a 15kW electric motor. Renault, which quoted a 47mph top speed for the concept, says the production model is closely based upon the car from the Frankfurt show. Both single- and two-seat formats are available.

Renault displayed what it said would be the final, production version at the Paris motor show in September 2010. The Twizy went on sale in France during December 2011, followed shortly afterwards by other European markets.

In November 2010, Nissan suddenly revealed an image but few other details of its own variant of the Twizy, calling it the 'New Mobility Concept'. This vehicle then turned up again at the Tokyo motor show in November 2011 but since then, there has been no news on a potential production model.

Renault announced an additional version of the model in June 2013, the Twizy Cargo. This features a watertight boot with a capacity of 180 litres (75kg), accessible via a rear door that opens to 90°. This conversion was made possible by adapting the cut-out of the rear end and doing away with the passenger seat. The front seat is still moveable, and the door features a locking system that works with the ignition key. The Twizy Cargo is aimed primarily at delivery or express firms, such as lift operators, postal services and emergency services.

In March 2015, Renault stated that it had at that point delivered 15,000 units of the Twizy to European customers. As the end of 2016, the company had sold 18,000 units.

In March 2016 came news that the Twizy had been certified by Transport Canada, and would be sold in the country from mid-2016. The Canadian specification model, called Twizy 40, is fitted with a type-1 charging cable and side reflectors. With speed capped at 40 km/h (about 25mph), it comes under the Canadian category of low-speed vehicles (four-wheel electric vehicles with top speed from 32 to 40 km/h). The car's local distributor is AZRA Canada.

The Valladolid plant began shipping Samsung-badged versions of the Twizy to South Korea in October 2016. The model went on sale there, distributed by RSM as the Samsung Twizy, in December 2016.

Renault has one vehicle in the A segment, though there is also a small crossover (see Kwid in the following report) and a few others to come. The third generation Twingo isn't anywhere near being the brand's seller in Europe but with sales volume of just over 83,000 cars in 2016, it is number two in its segment behind the Fiat/Abarth 500.

The business case for the latest car was made once Renault had agreed a JV with Daimler. This centres on not just a bespoke rear-engined, rear-wheel drive platform, but joint production at a Groupe Renault plant in Slovenia. Build of the Twingo and the smart forfour which also uses the partners' Edison architecture, takes place at the Revos factory in the city of Novo Mesto. The smart fortwo, which is built at the smartville plant in France, also uses this platform but there is no Renault version of the smaller car.

The Twingo, which is a five-door hatchback, was revealed online in February 2014. Its motor show premiere was at Geneva the following month, with production commencing in July 2014. A facelifted car should be a debutante at this year's Geneva show, though it may well be delayed until the Frankfurt IAA in September. The updated car will likely not be on sale until October. A fresh model should then go into production in mid-2020 on an evolution of Edison.

The Renault-Nissan Alliance stated in January 2012 that Daimler would provide batteries from its Kamenz production facility in Germany, and Renault-Nissan would provide electric motors for the Twingo and smart plug-in models. However, in March 2014, a Renault spokesman told just-auto.com that "whilst the platform is Z.E. ready, no Twingo Z.E. is currently planned". This is still the case. Meanwhile, Daimler now offers the smart fortwo electric drive and forfour electric drive.

The Twingo was launched with the choice of normally aspirated or turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engines. These are the SCe 70 (70hp/91Nm) and the Energy TCe 90 (898cc 90hp/135Nm). The Twingo GT, which was announced to the media in June 2016, went on sale across Europe from the fourth quarter of last year. It is powered by a 110hp version of the 898cc TCe turbocharged engine. The GT had its public debut at the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Renault is planning two more A segment models, and these will be specifically for India, though they may also be built or assembled in Brazil. Both are based on the Kwid, an A segment crossover the details of which will be in the next report. Also see that feature's section on monospaces for the other Kwid-based model. LBC is the codename for a sub-4m sedan due out by 2020. It is expected to use the Alliance's CMF-A architecture. The monospace and the SUV will be released ahead of the sedan.

B segment/Sub-compact

Clio Mio is the model name for the second generation Clio, a car that first went on sale in Europe during 1997. Now, a plant in Argentina is the only place where the X65 series hatchback is still made, Brazilian production having finally ceased.

The four-door sedan version of this model was also built in Turkey and several plants in South America until 2008.

In early 2009, Renault restarted production of the Clio Campus in France in response to strong sales of the model. A facelifted car went on sale in Europe and North Africa in June 2009. Later that month, Renault stated that the Flins plant would continue its 'temporary' assembly of the car until December 2009.

As for build in Slovenia, in January 2010 there were reports that production of the Clio II would end there during 2013. The X65 Clio line was converted for production of the third generation Renault Twingo and the related four-door smart. The latter was announced for the Revoz plant (Novo Mesto) in April 2010.

The existing Renault Sandero is the effective replacement for the Clio Mio and Brazil's Novo Clio. Mio production at the 61 year old Santa Isabel plant near the city of Cordoba should finally come to an end later this year.

The latest Clio/Lutécia - the latter has always been the model name in Japan - is built in France at Flins and Dieppe, by OYAK-Renault in Turkey (Bursa) and from March, it will also be made at Revoz in Slovenia.

BJA is the code for the next model. The fifth generation Clio is set to enter production from the first quarter of 2019. It will use the Alliance's CMF-B architecture. The EOLAB, a lightweight concept from the 2014 Paris motor show, will have given some clues about the technology which could be employed, as well as the styling. This includes what Renault calls its future 'Z.E. Hybrid' powertrain. EOLAB was the first vehicle to use the Renault-Nissan Alliance's CMF-B architecture. The Nissan Micra/March which has just entered production in France is the first production model to be based on CMF-B.

Another B segment hatchback is the Pulse, a model developed for India but which has not been successful (local sales in 2016: 2,228, down 22%). This was intended to be a rival for the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai i20 and Tata Indica Vista. It was revealed in October 2011 at an event timed to coincide with the Indian Grand Prix. The public debut was at the New Delhi Auto Expo in January 2012, and it went on sale locally later the same month.

The Pulse, which was developed at Renault's engineering centre in Mumbai, is closely related to the now previous generation Nissan March/Micra. The equally disappointing Datsun Go (Indian market sales in 2916: 7,926, down 27%) is also part of the same group of cars.

LJC is the project code for the Pulse replacement and this car should be launched in 2018. In common with project RBC, a future small minivan (see the Monospaces section of the next report), LJC will probably have its world premiere at the next New Delhi auto expo in January 2018.

The Symbol/Thalia had its global debut at the Moscow motor show in August 2008. This small sedan was originally for lower income markets in Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey, South America, the Maghreb countries and the Gulf States. The car is a rebodying of the second generation Renault Clio. Its first facelift was at the Istanbul motor show in November 2012.

The Bursa plant in Turkey was the first to start production, with Santa Isabel in Argentina added in December 2008. Sales started in most countries in Q4, 2008. Production in these countries has now ceased.

The Symbol was the first model to be built at Renault's Algerian car and LCV plant. Renault, SNVI (Société Nationale de Véhicules Industriels, Algeria's National Company of Industrial Vehicles) and the country's National Investment Fund (FNI) signed a shareholders' agreement in December 2012 for the creation of a joint venture (owned 51 percent by the Algerian partners and 49% by Renault) to develop the automotive industry in Algeria and support local market growth. SNVI and FNI contributed 34 and 17 percent respectively, to form the 51 percent stake.

The manufacturing plant is in Oued Tlelat, southwest of Oran, and is for Groupe Renault passenger cars and LCVs, mainly for the local market. The plant's annual production volume started at 25,000 vehicles/year (seven vehicles/hour) and will ultimately be increased to 75,000 vehicles/year (15 vehicles/hour), based on market response. The first model to be manufactured there was the New Symbol. The facility opened in November 2014. The joint venture is known as Renault Algérie Production – RAP Spa. This is now the only plant worldwide which makes the model.

In September 2016, Renault announced that as part of a new JV with the Iranian state, the Duster and Symbol would be built in that country from 2018. It is not yet known if these will be fresh models or the current ones.

The other (non-electric) car in the B segment is the Scala. Confusingly, there were two Renault Scalas, though each is or was a small sedan. The first one, launched in 2010, was built in South Korea by Renault Samsung Motors (RSM) and was a rebadged Samsung SM3 Classic Edition. It was exported to Colombia, Mexico and Egypt. Production ceased during 2012.

The second Scala is manufactured by the Renault-Nissan Alliance's Oragadam in India's Tamil Nadu state. It is a version of the Nissan Sunny that goes down the same line at that plant. The Scala was launched in India in September 2012. Its replacement, if there is one, will use the Alliance's CMF-B architecture. In 2016, just over 500 Scalas were sold in India. It is therefore highly unlikely that it will be directly replaced. Production is due to end this year.

C segment/Compact

The fourth generation Mégane five-door hatchback (project code: BFB) entered production at its first plant, Palencia (Spain) in November 2015. KFB, the wagon/Sport Tourer ('Estate' in France and many other markets) build at the same location followed from June 2016, three months after this body style had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show.

Production of a follow-up to the Megane coupé had at one time been set for November 2016 but this car (project code: DFB) was cancelled. The cabrio will not be replaced either.

The five-door hatchback is 64mm longer (4,359mm) and 25mm lower (1,447mm) than the third-generation model, and has a 28mm longer wheelbase (2,669mm). 

Mégane Grand Coupé (project code: LFF) is the name for the four-door sedan, the replacement for the Fluence. This derivative was announced to the media in July 2016, with production at Bursa in Turkey following three months later. The Grand Coupé is sold in the following countries: Algeria, Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Egypt, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.

Renault stated in September 2015 that a 'Hybrid Assist' diesel would be added to the Mégane range early in 2017. It has a targeted NEDC cycle figure below 3 litres/100km (94.1mpg) and CO2 emissions of 76g/km. The HA diesel is now expected to be on sale from April.

The RS (RenaultSport) will reportedly be available only as a five-door hatchback. It will have a 300PS+ 2.0-litre turbo engine and be front-wheel drive. Production is not expected to commence until 2018.

Facelifts for the range should take place from the final quarter of 2018 and a next generation model series will then be rolled out from October 2022. This will use an update of CMF-C/D.

D segment/Mid-size

Compared to the market leading Volkswagen Group, Renault has only a small presence in Europe's D segment. That seems to suit the French company as it has instead been successfully pursuing sales from similarly sized SUVs. 

The 4.85m long Talisman is Renault's replacement for the Laguna and Latitude/Safrane. It was revealed to the media as a sedan in July 2015. The public debut, and the debut of the wagon, 'Talisman Estate', was two months later at the Frankfurt IAA.

All Renault-badged cars are built in France at Georges Besse (Douai). The Laguna was manufactured at Sandouville but this facility was retooled to produce light commercials. The Talisman is also manufactured in South Korea but this is a slightly restyled variant, the Samsung SM6. That car is far more successful than the Talisman, selling 57,478 units in CY2016 and that's without an estate, such bodystyles not being popular there.

Production of the sedan (LFD) commenced in September 2015, with the wagon (KFD) following two months later. The firm was realistic enough to state at launch that it was hoping there would be demand enough for production of a combined 40,000 cars in 2016. In the event, just 15,234 were sold in the best market, France, last year. The segment leader there was the Peugeot 508 (17,919), though this six-year old sedan and estate range's numbers fell by 18 per cent, whereas the Renault was up by 864 per cent. The Audi A4 and VW Passat struggled to break the 10,000 units barrier, while the Skoda Octavia sold fewer than 7,000 cars, also showing just how large the contraction in this size class has been.

There is a chance that Dongfeng Renault's DRAC plant in Wuhan might also build the Talisman, but this depends on that facility being expanded from its 2016 capacity of 150,000 vehicles per annum. DRAC was designed to be building an eventual 300,000 cars, with the potential to lift this further to 360,000 a year as part of a potential third phase.

A facelifted Talisman is due on sale across Europe from late 2018, and the future Talisman should be in dealerships from the third quarter of 2022. It will most likely be based on CMF-C/D. Without a next generation Samsung SM6, the company simply could not make a business case for a replacement model series. Despite it being a brand new car, the Talisman had an awful 2016 in Europe's largest market, with just 4,351 sales. That means it was outsold by such vehicles as the Toyota Avensis, Range Rover Sport, Suzuki Jimny, Mazda MX-5 and Ford Mustang.

Renault UK, which does not import the Talisman, seems unlikely to change its mind, given the ongoing, steady decline of other non-premium brands in the local D segment.

Future product program intelligence

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

More data on vehicle lifetime and future product plans is available in PLDB from QUBE.