My report yesterday about Renault’s plans to walk away from the large car market – as well as abandoning the Laguna – caused some consternation in Paris.
It was not inaccurate. Indeed, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Mr Moulonguet was quite plain about the plans for the company’s large car factory and the fact that it has written off a 150m euros in development costs for the now-postponed new Espace.
However, the company has issued a list of ‘clarifications’ in light of our meeting with the CFO.
Renault says ‘there will be a new-generation Espace. The project is postponed but not cancelled.’
It points out that it has a raft of upmarket technology, including the new V6 diesel engine and 4Control chassis with four-wheel steering. It also points out that Renault’s Korean Samsung arm builds 76,000 SM5s and 15,000 big SM7s each year.
However, the e-mail makes a subtle distinction between ‘large’ and ‘luxury’. It says ‘we have good reason to remain confident about the future of our luxury range’.
And even though Renault has had considerable success with the budget Logan and Sandero models, it ‘would like to remain a volume car maker, i.e. offer clients a full range of vehicles from entry-level to the luxury segment’.