Renault announced today it will drop, as of next February, the complete Laguna range, including the coupe, plus the Wind roadster, both variants of the Modus and Espace and the Kangoo and Trafic passenger versions.
The consequences go far beyond the cars: for instance, between now and this time next year, almost 30 per cent of Renault UK’s main dealers and nigh-on 70 per cent of retail dealers will be shut or converted to service and aftermarket centres. Inevitably, the human cost of such changes is likely to be high.
However, there is some good news in the announcement, too, although the focus isn’t necessarily on it today. There’s a new four-year warranty, breakdown and servicing programme, for instance, backed by confidence from reliability and customer satisfaction surveys that suggest modern Renaults are far better cars than their reputation suggests. The shake-up of dealers will allow those that survive to be more profitable. The launch of the Dacia brand in the UK late in 2012 will also give consumers a new and highly interesting choice.
It’s a radical plan with far-reaching consequences that will be watched by rivals with interest; make no mistake, Renault is not the only car company struggling to make profits in the UK at the moment. With the economic situation changing by the hour in the Eurozone, they may not be the only ones taking drastic action, either.