Hot versions of Renault’s latest crossovers, the Captur and Kadjar, could be on sale within a couple of years if investigations under way at Renaultsport prove them viable for production. Renault bosses are said to be interested in the success and strong sales of Nissan’s Juke Nismo.
Patrice Ratti, CEO of Renault’s independently minded performance division, which last year generated a £500 million turnover from production of 35,000 cars, said the company is investigating the idea now.
Ratti cited three “areas for investigation”. Renaultsport must discover whether production of faster crossovers would be feasible where the standard cars are made. It must find out if appropriate performance changes could be made within a reasonable budget. It must also work out whether Renaultsport customers would want such models.
Ratti added that the company is proud of its reputation for building top performance hatchbacks and has just launched a sportier, RS 220 version of its fast-selling Clio RS 200 to counter criticism of ‘softness’. As a result, any go-faster RS crossover would have to meet buyers’ expectations.
Renaultsport opened in 2002 and has grown its volume from 5000 to 35,000 cars in just five years. “Our twin challenges are to stay on top in Europe, where competition is growing and to expand outside Europe,” said Ratti. “We want to reach 50,000 cars by the end of the decade, 50% of which are sold in emerging markets such as China.”
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