Renault's new multi-marque garage network is part of its strategy to combat European legislation changes and improve its position in the car service and maintenance sector. The aftermarket is a core element in any vehicle manufacturer strategy and this flexible scheme may see Renault gain valuable market share.

Renault is to launch a new network of garages called Motrio, which will service all makes of car. This new branded network was initially created for Renault agents that have not been able to comply with the new EU regulations to become approved dealers. However, other vehicle manufacturer agents and independent garages have also been approached and the French manufacturer aims to reach 500 outlets by 2004.

As part of the Motrio network affiliation agreement, the member must hold a stock valued at €1,500 and have a minimum target of €8,500 in Renault parts annually. The member will have full access to Renault parts distributors.

The new EU regulations mean that the overall number of approved franchised dealers will shrink over the next two years and it is expected that the number of Renault agents will be reduced by 400.

Renault isn't the only car manufacturer using a multi-marque repair centre strategy. Last March, Citroen launched a similar concept, Eurorepar. Currently, the network consists of 250 ex-agents and independent garages. Renault and Citroen are seeking ways to maintain their own original equipment spare parts share in the market and to increase their share of the aftermarket through lower-priced second tier brands such as Motrio parts for Renault and Eurorepar for Citroen.

The French car aftermarket has a huge potential, with 60% of the French car parc being more than five years old. One of the biggest challenges for vehicle manufacturers has been penetrating the servicing sector of older vehicles, due to the inability of the dealer to compete on price with the independent sector. Under this new flexible scheme Renault might succeed, as garages concentrate solely on servicing and maintenance and have the flexibility to use a certain proportion of independent aftermarket brands to be more price competitive.

SOURCE: DATAMONITOR COMMENTWIRE (c) 2003 Datamonitor. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without prior written consent. Datamonitor shall not be liable for errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.