No surprises as Renault have a rethink

I remember back in late 2008 when I wondered if the motor trade, as I knew it at least, would ever be the same again. The share prices of the big boys had fallen through the floor. It really felt like the end of the world was nigh and there were probably going to be some major casualties.

Fast forward a couple of years and the situation may not seem quite as bleak but it’s still difficult. There doesn’t appear to be any bargain basement share prices but there is something altogether different happening with the collapse of Saab and the diminishing influence of Renault as a force in the UK motoring industry.

The Saab thing was almost inevitable given the fact that they lost their identity and their customers when acquired by GM. Although they are still fondly remembered and still have a fireclay loyal band of followers, who remember them when they were bullet proof innovative and unbelievably reliable, it is sadly a sign of the times that they will become a footnote in the motoring history pages.

Renault on the other hand is a different story.

That Renault, from February next year, will slash the number of models it sells in the UK and vastly reduce its franchised network will not come as much of a surprise to many in the trade.

I was chatting to someone recently who, like me, remembered the amazing little Renault 5 GT Turbo and how the Clio was seen as a market leader in its sector, and further back how, along with the Toyota Previa, the Espace virtually monopolised the MPV sector in the late 80s and early 90s, but since then what?

The truly appalling Laguna, the mediocre Mégane and the Scenic which lost its way long ago, not to mention the Kangoo (what’s that all about?) and all with really atrocious residuals. It is hardly surprising therefore that Renault are having a rethink having lost 50% of sales in a few short years.

Whilst other manufacturers have invested, brought their brands into the 21st century, and increased their product range and mass market appeal Renault have stood still.

As much as I’m tempted to say au revoir and Vous avez le corps d’un chien et le QI d’une durée de cinq ans! to Mr. Sarcozy after he tried to belittle the UK’s stance over the eurozone, I still find it a little sad that Renault are in this predicament and let’s hope by taking a few steps backwards, prendre leurs medicaments, reducing the size of their dealer network, updating that horrible yellow logo and dusting down Papa and Nicole that they can once again be players in years to come.

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5 Responses to No surprises as Renault have a rethink

  1. Peter from Dublin. December 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    That’s what we call “partnership”.

    Dealers display years of loyalty selling poorly designed and manufactured mundane cars….struggle to make a profit yet invest in corporate premises only to be culled at a time when property prices are in free fall.

    Well done Renault you should be proud of yourselves!

  2. Mark R December 23, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Thirty plus years in the trade, and every time a customer wants to part exchange a Renault we balk ! most comebacks last year? French………..speaks volumes about French cars in particular but especially Renault, won’t retail them here if it is at all possible……………………………

  3. david w williams December 30, 2011 at 12:39 am #

    Makes you wonder who will be next and with the big money being invested in new facilitys at the behest of the OEMs certain to be a tricky business in future years.

    • Peter from Dublin. January 2, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      Ask Toyota about French built cars…….since they started manufacturing in France their once excellent reputation has tumbled and now on par with the like of Vauxhall and Renault.

  4. Kev W February 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    I think the French manufacturers relied on patriotic customers to ignore the poor quality of their domestic vehicles for too long, not so long ago no frenchman would buy a foreign car. That never applied here in the UK and finally the years of French manufacturers coming last in quality and ownership surveys has come home to roost, even the french public sector buy “foreign” vehicles. The french have even lost their sense of style; Laguna, latest Scenic, Peugeot 207/307/308 anyone? and so have no redeeming qualities whatever.

    All manufacturers insist on expensive “glass palaces” which do nothing but increase costs which in turn have to be passed on to the customer. There is NO MONEY in selling cars anymore, giving away margin to meet weekly sales targets and the internet has seen to that, all profit has to come from parts and service and with such huge overheads main dealers cannot compete with independents. Game over.

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