Climber concept: preview of an A segment SUV?

Climber concept: preview of an A segment SUV?

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 the third was a look at current and future Renault brand models in the A, B, C and D segments. The final instalment below is a focus on crossovers/SUVs, monospaces/MPVs, pick-ups and EVs.

Crossovers & SUVs

The smallest crossover sold by Renault was developed as the BBA project. This low-cost model was revealed to the media in May 2015 and went on sale in India from the second half of that year. The Kwid was the first production vehicle for the Alliance's CMF-A platform. 

Named after a concept car, the Kwid is now a wildly successful small crossover. In India, both 800cc, three-cylinder (codename: BR8) and 1.0-litre (BR10) petrol engines are offered.

At February 2016's New Delhi auto expo, Renault revealed two concepts, the Climber (potential SUV, picture above) and Racer (sports variant), one or both of which should have a production future.

This was the first programme developed from the ground up by Renault SAS and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., teams working side by side from inception. Internally named CMF-A, this covers the most affordable category of cars in the Common Module Family, Renault-Nissan's modular system of vehicle architecture. The Alliance notes that the A stands for Affordable rather than necessarily just the A segment.

According to Renault's July 2013 statement, "The CMF approach defines vehicles as five essential modules: the engine bay, cockpit, front underbody, rear underbody and electrical/electronic architecture. The compatible parts can then be assembled into hundreds of possible configurations, for maximum efficiency and brand differentiation".

The first CMF-A vehicle was the Datsun redi-GO concept which debuted at the Delhi motor show in February 2014. A production model, which shares much with the Kwid, went on sale in India during the second quarter of 2016. While the Datsun models based on CMF-A have only been moderately successful, the Kwid has been a huge hit with Indian buyers, with more than 100,000 sold last year. 

Cheap touches are easy to see on the Kwid: a single wiper, no rear wash/wipe, just three nuts to secure each wheel, and an old-fashioned roof-mounted antenna. The car also lacks ABS and ESP. A driver's airbag is only standard in the higher-priced model grades.

Speaking at February 2016's New Delhi auto expo, Renault's chairman of its Africa-Middle East-India Region Bernard Cambier said the company would begin sending Kwid kits to Brazil by the end of that month. The chairman added that Renault would also export the Kwid to SAARC countries such as Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The company also exports the car to Mauritius and will add South Africa later in 2017.

CKD assembly of the Kwid at the Ayrton Senna plant commenced in April 2016. The factory in Curitiba is also known as São José dos Pinhais (in the state of Paraná). Aside from Brazil, Renault is said to be looking at assembling or possibly building the Kwid in Iran.

HBC is the development code for another Kwid-based model. Due out in 2019, it will be initially exclusive to India and a rival for the big selling Maruti Suzuki Brezza. This little SUV, which could be called 'Climber', will slip under the crucial 4m tax threshold. Renault will position HBC above the Kwid and below the Duster. 

The small monospace (RBC) and sedan (LBC) are other vehicles in this family. See Part 1 of this two part series for details of the LBC. Information on the RBC micro-minivan is noted in the Monospaces section below.

J87, the Captur crossover, is Clio-based and had its global debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2013. It is sold mostly in European markets as a rival for the Peugeot 2008, Opel/Vauxhall Mokka X and Nissan Juke. Build at Valladolid in Spain commenced immediately after the show but oddly, Renault has allowed the car to reach almost four years of production with no facelift. 

This model's arch rival, the Peugeot 2008, is hampered by having only front-wheel drive but while Renault inexplicably failed to refresh the FWD or AWD Captur's styling last year, the similarly aged 2008 had an update. This is much of the reason why the Peugeot has now leapt ahead of the once dominant Captur. A facelift for the Renault should be a world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March.

Renault announced in April 2014 that the Captur would be sold in China (as an import) from 2015. Local production, via the DRAC joint venture, may follow later in 2017 or 2018.

A concept which was displayed at the Geneva motor show in March 2011 provided a glimpse of the production model's styling. The Captur sits in the Renault small crossover model range above the Sandero Stepway and below the Koleos. It is also the effective replacement for the Modus and Grand Modus. Renault Samsung Motors (RSM) also sells a Samsung-badged version of the Captur.

Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn announced on a visit to Brazil in August 2016 that the Captur would be produced at the Ayrton Senna plant in São José dos Pinhais. This will be on the same line that assembles the Renault Duster, Sandero, Logan, Duster Oroch and Sandero Stepway.

HJB is the code for the second generation Captur due for release in Europe during the first quarter of 2020. The next Captur is again expected to be manufactured in Spain (Valladolid) and Brazil (Ayrton Senna plant, São José dos Pinhais) but it might also be built at the DRAC plant in China. 

Like the current model, Captur 2 will share its architecture with the contemporary Renault Clio and other similarly sized Renault-Nissan Alliance models such as the Nissan Micra/March. That means CMF-B instead of the older Alliance A which the current Captur is based upon. A facelift should take place in the third quarter of 2023 and the third generation model would then be released in the first quarter of 2027.

Larger than the J87 Captur, the (HHA) Kaptur is a 4,333m long SUV which is built in Moscow, mainly for the Russian market. Production commenced in July 2016. It may also be eventually be manufactured in Brazil and India. In the latter country, there should be both a new name and a diesel engine. 

The Kaptur is not related to the Captur, even though it has been styled to look like that model. The major difference, apart from size - the Kaptur is longer - is that the Captur is on a newer architecture than the old Alliance B-Zero platform, as used by many Dacia models. Facelift time should be in mid-2020, and a second generation model will follow from the first quarter of 2024.

One size up from the B segment Captur and B-C class Kaptur is the Kadjar. Developed with the project code of HFE, this SUV is a rebodying of the Nissan X-Trail, so it uses the Alliance's CMF-C/D architecture.

According to a statement by Renault, "KADJAR is built around KAD- and –JAR. KAD- is inspired by 'quad' representing a go-anywhere four wheel vehicle and –JAR recalls the French words 'agile' and 'jaillir' representing agility and suddenly emerging from somewhere. The sound and spelling of the name have an exotic feel which suggests adventure and discovering new horizons".

The Kadjar had its world premiere at the Geneva motor show in March 2015 with production at Vallamuriel de Cerratos (Palencia) near Madrid commencing the following month. Right-hand drive build, however, did not commence until August 2015. UK market deliveries began two months later.

In September 2015, Renault stated that it had hired 1,000 more workers for the Vallamuriel de Cerratos plant due to strong demand for the cars built there. This meant the addition of a third shift. The last time the factory ran three shifts prior to this was in 2011. Each of the existing two shifts had been making 450 cars per day.

Of the Kadjar's engine line-up, two units are manufactured at Valladolid, which is 50 km from Palencia. Two of the transmission options are also produced in Spain. These come from a plant in Seville.

This was the first Renault to be built by DRAC, the Dongfeng Renault joint venture in the city of Wuhan. The partners had been planning an initial annual build of 75,000 units of the Kadjar, to be followed by a similar target number for the second generation Koleos. 

In addition to the vehicle assembly plant, DRAC has a powertrain facility and an R&D Centre. It has an initial production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year which has the potential to be doubled to 300,000 vehicles. Renault China executives are on record as stating they would like to see upwards of half a million vehicles being produced at the Hubei province factory.

The Kadjar entered production in January 2016, with the larger Koleos added to the line at the greenfield plant during the final quarter of 2016. By year end, 6,027 units of the Koleos had been built.

China's Kadjar went on sale in March 2016 with the choice of 1.2- and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines. Compared to Europe's model, it also comes with a panoramic roof and a different rear suspension system. The 2.0-litre engine is locally manufactured. 

The DRAC JV sold 23,999 Kadjars last year, which, while disappointing, was nonetheless a good result for a brand which remains relatively unknown compared to most other European marques which exist in China.

The Kadjar may yet be either exported to South Korea from Spain or built at RSM's Busan plant and sold in the country as the Samsung QM5, supplementing the imported QM3 (Captur) and locally made QM6 (Koleos).

HZG, which is the code for the second generation Koleos is Kadjar-based but larger. This 4.7m long SUV is mainly for China but it was first manufactured in South Korea by Renault Samsung. Build at Busan got underway in July 2016, some four months before the DRAC plant began manufacturing it. In the Korean market, this model is sold as the Samsung QM6. RSM changes the badges and a few other details for the exports of the Renault model to Europe.

Renault stated in April 2016 that sales would begin "...in the third quarter of 2016 in Australia, Turkey, the Gulf states and some Latin American countries, followed by China at the end of 2016, then Russia and Europe at the beginning of 2017".

For the moment, the Chinese government has granted Renault a licence to produce only SUVs in the country.

Pick-ups

The 4.7m long Duster Oroch is the smaller and older of two pick-ups. It has been sold mainly in Brazil since October 2015 and is manufactured at the Ayrton Senna/São José dos Pinhais plant in the city of Curitiba. A facelift should be the next news for the Oroch and that's due out in 2019. This being the last model to be launched on Groupe Renault's B-Zero platform, there is however a strong chance of the second generation vehicle appearing in 2020, based on the Alliance's latest CMF-B architecture.

The Alaskan, formerly project ZU60, is larger than than the Duster Oroch and will by contrast be a global vehicle. Production will eventually take place at multiple plants, with the first one, Nissan's Cuernavaca factory in Mexico, having started building the model in December. 

There will also be a related model for Mercedes-Benz. "The Mercedes-Benz pickup will share some of the architecture with the all-new Nissan NP300 but it will be engineered and designed by Daimler to meet the specific needs of its customers," the Renault-Nissan Alliance's April 2015 media release noted. The model name for that vehicle is X-Class.

The Mercedes-Benz pickup truck will be built by Nissan in the Renault plant in Cordoba (Argentina), along with the Nissan NP300 and the Renault Alaskan, for Latin America. The three pick-ups will also be built in the Nissan plant in Barcelona (Spain), for other markets, excluding North America. 

Barcelona will produce about 120,000 vehicles annually for the three partners, while the Cordoba plant will produce nearly 70,000 vehicles a year. A high parts localisation rate is expected to expand the supply bases in Spain and Argentina significantly.

Expect a facelift for the Alaskan in 2020 and a second generation model in 2024.

Monospaces/MPVs/Minivans

RBC is the development code for a small minivan based on the Kwid. It should be built only in India and use the Alliance's CMF-A platform as its basis. Expect this model to be revealed at the next New Delhi auto expo in January 2018. It should be on sale locally in mid-2018 and the Alliance plant in Tamil Nadu may also supply kits for assembly in Brazil.

The B segment Modus is long gone, Renault having cleverly been one of the first European OEMs to see the opportunity in similarly sized SUVs and crossovers and the then impending decline of B-MPVs.

While some OEMs such as Mazda and others have taken the decision to withdraw from all or some MPV size segments, Renault believes there is still good potential business for its 'monospace' models. The latest Scénic (project code: JFA) and Grand Scénic (RFA) are a case in point.

The fourth generation Scénic had its public debut at the Geneva motor show in March 2016. The Grand Scénic was revealed six months later at the Paris motor show. The XMOD, a sort of crossover-MPV mashup which was part of the previous generation, will not be replaced.

Unusually, Renault specifies 20" wheels as standard for all variants. These narrower rims (195mm) have a sidewall height of 107mm, which Renault says is equivalent to that of the Scénic 3's 17-inch tyres. The unique size of these wheels (195/55 R20), and the specification of specifically developed tyres for lower energy consumption and enhanced aerodynamic efficiency, mean low rolling resistance, it is claimed.

Deliveries of these models commenced in the fourth quarter of 2016. RHD cars for the UK were in showrooms from December.

At 4,406mm from end to end, the fourth generation Scenic is 40mm longer than the previous model.

A so called Hybrid Assist feature for the Energy dCi 110 diesel engine, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, is available as an option. This system is claimed to combine low fuel consumption and a boost of acceleration at certain speeds, particularly at low revs. Hybrid Assist recovers energy during deceleration and braking. It functions with a 48-volt battery, enabling the electric motor to support the internal combustion engine, which remains in continuous operation.

Given how new the Scénic and Grand Scénic are, there won't be any exterior update for some years yet. That should come in early 2020, with the fifth generation models due in the third quarter of 2023. These should be based on an evolution of the Alliance's CMF-C/D architecture. 

It isn't a big seller and there is no RHD build but the E segment Espace (project code: JFC) nonetheless does worthwhile volume. Europe-wide deliveries numbered some 27,000 vehicles in 2016, the majority of which were in France.

The production model was revealed at October 2014's Paris motor show. It uses the same C/D version of the Renault-Nissan Alliance's Common Module Family architecture. Initial production commenced at the Douai plant in late 2014.

CMF, incidentally, consists of four variable modules - engine compartment, cockpit, front underbody and rear underbody. The Alliance stated this in a July 2014 media release: "The first model based on CMF at Renault will be the replacement for the Espace, which will debut in 2015 on the CMF-C/D".

The Espace's mid-life freshening is due in the first quarter of 2019, and the successor model, if there is one, should appear four years later.

EVs

Having spent many billions of euro on electric vehicles, Renault presently has only the Zoe B segment hatchback to show for this in its passenger vehicle range. Effectively a plug-in Clio with a unique body and interior, the Zoe has been with us since early 2013 and is yet to have a facelift. That should come later in 2017.

Renault quoted the original car's power output as 65kW/88bhp and maximum torque is 220Nm. Recharging takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 9 hours. A new motor debuted at the 2015 Geneva motor show. This gave the car a longer range of 240km or 149 miles. This motor is known as the R240. It is manufactured in France at the Cléon powerplant facility.

It took three years and three months to reach the milestone of 50,000 Zoes. Five months later in September 2016 a car with an NEDC range of 400km/250 miles was announced, premiering at the Paris motor show. In real-world driving, Renault estimates the car's (41kWh) Z.E. 40 battery has a range of 186 miles (300km) in urban or suburban areas. 

The Zoe with the 22kWh battery remains on sale. This has an NEDC rating of 240km/149 miles or 170km/106 miles according to Renault's 'real world' rating. The additional variants went on sale across Europe from December.

A second generation Zoe which is due in early 2020 should use the same EV-specific architecture as the replacement for the Nissan Leaf. That car will be seen later in 2017.

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.

The next OEM in the series will be three features on Groupe PSA: DS, followed by Citroën and then Peugeot