Renault wants to move its models more upmarket leaving room for its Dacia brand to take centre stage at the value end of the business where the Romanian offshoot will be able to undercut its Korean rivals.
That’s the view of Béatrice Foucher, head of Renault’s product planning. The first evidence of ‘premium’ Renault will come at next year’s Paris motor show when the redesigned Clio is launched just a few months before the Dacia Duster and Sandero finally arrive in the UK.
Foucher said the Clio will share some styling with the DeZir concept, especially the front-end treatment.
“The car is lower and wider so it looks more sporty and emotional,” she said. A lot of attention has also been paid to perceived quality in the cabin. “It’s important for customers to be able to touch and feel quality.”
The launch of Dacia in the UK will start from early 2013 with cars exported from the Indian Renault-Nissan Alliance factory in Chennai rather than tooling up the Romanian plant for right hand drive production.
Wherever Dacia has been launched, Renault has underestimated demand, Foucher said. The value brand has a 3% market share in Germany despite many in Renault questioning the wisdom of launching in a market where premium domestic brands dominate. Dacia is Germany’s top imported brand, she said.
A series of facelifts for current models will lead to the launch of the Clio IV next year. “We get 10 new faces in 2012 including the Megane,” said Foucher.