Renault is planning to bolster its range with a large saloon to take on cars such as the Volkswagen Passat.
The unnamed model — which has still to be approved by Renault chiefs — will sit above the Laguna in the line-up. It is not expected until 2016.
Stephen Norman, Renault’s marketing chief, singled out the Passat as a target for the car. The Passat was the third strongest-selling upper-medium car in the UK last year behind the Vauxhall Insignia and BMW 3-series.
Norman reckoned that Renault’s new offering, like the VW, could be a construed as a credible alternative to the two biggest sellers in the class and the Ford Mondeo.
“We can’t leave the Passat to succeed on its own in the upper-medium market,” Norman said.Norman predicted that the UK would be a key market for the new car. The upper-medium sector accounts for 13 per cent of UK car sales.
“Fifty per cent of the upper-medium car market is in the UK and Germany. If you want to succeed in that market, you have to succeed in those countries,” he said.
The new car could bear a family resemblance to the Renault Samsung SM7, a saloon sold only in Korea.
Renault is also understood to be close to finalising the concept for a Laguna replacement, due in 2015. It has still to be determined whether the car will be offered as a saloon or a hatchback, and a combined option like the Skoda Superb’s ‘Twindoor’ is believed to be under consideration. It seems likely that the Laguna name will be phased out.
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