Renault’s D-segment Laguna executive car failed because it was a poor design, said the French carmaker’s marketing director Stephen Norman, but there will be a better looking version in future.

“It was a good car in the wrong clothes,” said Norman. “There was nothing wrong with its quality or ride and handling.”

He said Renault was definitely not pulling out of the executive market because  “we cannot leave the Volkswagen Passat to have the market to itself in the upper medium segment.

“But we have to get the next Laguna right in terms of design because buyers in the upper medium segment expect their car to say something about their status. I think Citroen has got it right with the C5 and certainly the DS5 – we will not come out with a copy, though.”

That the iconic Espace people carrier was put on hold was due to the economic climate, said Norman. “We had to put two projects on hold, one of them you know about, the new Espace, and the other which you don’t know about, but it would have been a huge asset for us.”

The new Espace will eventually take to the road based on a common Renault-Nissan platform and Norman said it may have some input from Daimler through the technology tie up. As well as a new Laguna, “there may be a car above that in the E-segment”.

He admitted Renault had been quiet for some time “largely because around 2007 and 2008 we launched Twingo, Laguna and Megane within 18 months of each other and that created problems for us because they were too close together. It meant that we had no new product to follow for a while and all the facelifts came at the same time. It was important to get the model development out of sync.

“Our electric vehicles Twizy and Zoe are coming out close together but there is some space between them and others.”