Renault will never make a radical replacement for the Mégane, but officials admit something needs to be done to counteract the advance of Audi, BMW and Mercedes into the family hatchback segment.

The French firm’s exterior design chief, Anthony Lo, said the Mégane “could never change too radically”, because it is needed in its current conventional form in both developing and mature markets, but Renault “needed to compete against low-cost premium German cars” if it is not to lose market share.

Lo ruled out the Mégane growing any bigger than its current size as it would increase the weight and negate its aerodynamic efficiency, so instead the firm would focus on improving the “perceived quality” of its products, particularly with its interiors.

“We need to get smart,” Lo revealed. “Perceived quality is what it’s all about now, touch and feel being so important. We need to think how we can make our cars more ‘French’, injecting lessons learned from France’s many brands associated with luxury.”