Upmarket Renault cancelled due to production concerns, but joint project may still happen in the future

Renault has dropped plans for a luxury car based on the Mercedes-Benz E-class platform, company CEO Carlos Tavares has revealed.

He said that Renault "hadn't found a business model that works". However, Tavares added that the project was not dead, but that "a good equation" might still be found with partners Mercedes in the future.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the proposed luxury Renault, which was likely to have been branded 'Initiale Paris' and would have been priced from £40,000, was dropped because the current E-class platform would be close to the end of its production run, just as the new Renault would be scheduled to arrive in the showroom.

Continuing the production of a defunct component-set would be complex and expensive and would rule out the proposed Renault being built on an existing Mercedes production line. Meanwhile, the ageing Espace – currently Renault’s flagship model – is expected to be replaced by an upmarket SUV next year.

Renault is still on schedule to launch the Initiale Paris sub-brand next year. This will be used on high-spec versions of Renault's current mainstream models, starting with the new Clio. Renault has been absent from the premium car market since the slow-selling Vel Satis hatchback was dropped in 2009.

Renault-Nissan and Mercedes have a number of co-operative projects in train, including sharing the next-generation, rear-engined Smart platform that is also expected to underpin the all-new Twingo. Mercedes is also supplying the A-class platform to Nissan's Infiniti brand, which will use it as the basis of the British-built Q30.

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13 March 2013

I thought Renaults Luxury car was the Latitude, a car that replaced the Vel Satis, and just looking at the web site its still on sale. 

But i dont really see the need for Renault to be in the market for a Luxury car grander than this. Surely thats what Infinity is for? If they want to rebrand a luxury car  Renault, wouldnt it make more sense to rebadge an Infinity than use a Mercedes chassis?

13 March 2013

artill wrote:

I thought Renaults Luxury car was the Latitude, a car that replaced the Vel Satis, and just looking at the web site its still on sale. 

But i dont really see the need for Renault to be in the market for a Luxury car grander than this. Surely thats what Infinity is for? If they want to rebrand a luxury car  Renault, wouldnt it make more sense to rebadge an Infinity than use a Mercedes chassis?

Exactly! The Latitude/Safrane(2) is Renault's current luxury car. Though as non-VW group brands don't interest Autocar, it appears that zero research was undertaken on this fact. Something a quick google / wikipedia search / visit to Renault.fr would've shown!

It is based on the Renault-Samsung SM5. Nice big car too. The UK will never see it due to saloon car badge snobbery.

Does make sense though for Merc-based Luxury cars to be Infinitis.

Sadly, too, my fears that Renault will follow Nissan's lead in replacing everything with an SUV. Scenic will become an SUV, Laguna will have an SUV replacement, and now the Espace will become an SUV.

13 March 2013

Back before Renault lost their nerve, they showed the Initiale concept which showed some promise. If they had based a low volume production version on Infiniti or - go mental! - GTR underpinnings, it would have made a real splash. Instead they stretched their unexceptional front drive platform to create a weird, high roofed hatchback called Vel Satis.

There is no reason why France can't build a credible expensive car, except that the French decision makers in charge keep making the wrong choices. Why any future plans involve Mercedes rather than Infiniti underpinnings is beyond me.

13 March 2013

He said that Renault "hadn't found a business model that works".

I'm not sure it has a business model that works for the entire current range, never mind a new luxury brand. It's in a heck of a lot of trouble and will probably only survive off the generosity of the French taxpayer, until that goodwill runs out.

13 March 2013

Why do Renault insist on trying to produce large luxury cars.  History has shown us (with the 25, Safrane, awful Avantime and Vel Satis) that A) it hasn't got a clue how to make one, and Dirol the market doesn't want a large, luxury Renault.

They should save their money and concentrate on small to medium family cars, and small sporty cars.  Oh, and sort the quality and reliability out at the same time.

14 March 2013

Rather than produce another large saloon that, apart from being used to ferry around French Government officials, never sells in particularly large numbers, could Renault not concentrate on what they do best and make more small cars.  There was the promise of a new Renault 5 model which seems to have come to nothing.  Large French cars don't seem to float anyone's boat with Mercedes, Audi and BMW being the choice for company cars.  There's also the prospect that Peugeot/Citroen will follow suit and we'll get another C6 which is just terribly wrong.  They can do small and sporty cars so well so why, Renault, do you insist on thinking big is better.  It's not as if you won't have to discount them to death to persuade people to drive anything bigger than a Megane. 

14 March 2013

n50pap wrote:

There's also the prospect that Peugeot/Citroen will follow suit and we'll get another C6 which is just terribly wrong.

There was little wrong with the C6, aside from the badge perception.  As a car, it was a credible alternative to anything the Germans could produce and in many respects was far superior.

Surely, it would make more sense to "delay" the plan and base this new car on the new E Class?

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

14 March 2013

TegTypeR wrote:

There was little wrong with the C6, aside from the badge perception.  As a car, it was a credible alternative to anything the Germans could produce and in many respects was far superior.

Exactly.  The main problem with most French luxury cars is not that they are particularly inferior in a great many ways, but people are too ignorant to buy them.  Many of them have traditionally held their individual strengths in the line of comfort and design.

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