Re­nault’s coupe dreams

The La­guna would be a stylish ad­di­tion to a French col­lec­tion, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

APRO­TO­TYPE has cov­ered thou­sands of kilo­me­tres on Aus­tralian roads but the stylish La­guna coupe re­mains out of Re­nault Aus­tralia’s reach. So does the La­guna GT hatch. Both cars are high on the ‘‘must-have’’ list for Re­nault Aus­tralia boss Rudi Koenig, but he ad­mits it will be dif­fi­cult to build a busi­ness case for ei­ther car here de­spite the need for ‘‘halo’’ cars in the range.

Coupes and high-per­for­mance mod­els are tra­di­tion­ally low-vol­ume, high-cost cars that are rarely prof­itable as im­ports.

But Koenig is adamant Re­nault needs th­ese cars to broaden the French car­maker’s ap­peal.

He says there have been lots of dis­cus­sions about the GT and the coupe.

‘‘I sup­pose the dream I would have for a ‘brand’ car would be the GT,’’ he says.

The La­guna GT, with its all-wheel steer­ing and high-per­for­mance V6 tur­bod­iesel, ‘‘is the car with which I al­ways open the dis­cus­sions, be­cause it’s one I’d love to have’’.

‘‘The La­guna coupe is also a beau­ti­ful car. I’ve driven the V6 diesel and I know it’s fan­tas­tic, but we’ve been told the cost equa­tion isn’t right for Aus­tralia.’’

Koenig says part of Re­nault Aus­tralia’s frus­tra­tion comes from be­ing ‘‘a small player in a big com­pany and be­ing a small player within a mar­ket’’.

‘‘We have trou­ble con­vinc­ing our par­ent com­pany in France that Aus­tralia is a ma­ture, ad­vanced coun­try.

‘‘Every­one has the in­ter­net, every­one knows what Re­nault is do­ing and what prod­uct’s avail­able, and they don’t want sec­ond rate. So don’t try to sell us some­thing that doesn’t have all the good­ies.’’

The cur­rent model La­guna is not yet an ‘‘in­ter­na­tional’’ prod­uct be­cause it has been de­signed mostly for Europe. How­ever, Koenig be­lieves the next gen­er­a­tion La­guna hatch, sedan and coupe will be truly in­ter­na­tional.

This means the com­pany will be able to source more La­guna mod­els from more cost­com­pet­i­tive coun­tries such as South Korea and Turkey for smaller mar­kets such as Aus­tralia.

In Europe the all-wheel steer­ing coupe gets two per­for­mance V6s, a 3.0-litre dCi and a Nis­san-sourced 3.5-litre petrol. Both de­liver 0-100km/h in less than seven sec­onds.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.