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Renault cuts UK models and dealers
Renault is cutting five models from its British line-up and removing 55 franchised dealers from its network in a radical plan to turn around its loss-making UK division.
Renault has sold nearly 26,000 fewer cars up to November 2011 than it did in the same period last year, leaving it with a market share of just 3.1 per cent – trailing the major volume brands, plus premium brands BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
Last month, sales were so poor, even MINI outsold Renault, despite having a far less broad range of cars.
This has resulted in Renault’s UK operations not being profitable for several years – and now, the brand is taking action. The most dramatic move is cutting five model ranges from its UK line-up:
All variants of Laguna – hatchback, Sport Tourer estate and Coupe – will be culled, ending UK sales of a model that used to be a top UK seller for Renault. Removing the famous Espace people carrier will also end a line that has been on sale in the UK for more than a quarter of a century.
However, in more positive news, Renault is planning to enhance its UK warranty. The firm will introduce a four-year, 100,000-mile warranty in the UK, with four years’ servicing, breakdown cover and finance bundled in, as part of a value ‘Four+’ package for new cars.
Renault is doing this to take on Korean brands who are eating into its UK market share: Hyundai offers a five-year warranty, while Kia offers seven years. The new warranty package will be more competitive alongside these brands and also beat the three-year, 60,000-mile deal most other volume manufacturers offer: the one exception is Vauxhall, which provides a lifetime warranty.
Renault already offers a 100,000-mile cap on its current three-year deal.
In another positive move, Renault will launch the value Dacia brand in all its 135 remaining UK dealers later in 2012. This will allow the Renault brand to move slightly upmarket, with the Dacia Duster and Sandero slotting in beneath.
Renault will also launch its range of electric cars, including the Zoe supermini – and will replace the Clio, its key model line, towards the end of the year following a Paris Motor Show debut.
The firm hopes its decision to focus on four key products, with an electric car halo range above and a Dacia value line below, will restore both profitability and market share: as recently as 2005, Renault was the top-three car brand in the UK, with sales of almost 190,000 cars and a market share of over seven per cent.
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