Renault is trimming the fat from its UK line-up, following plummeting sales figures over the last few years. From February, no fewer than five models will be axed, leaving some notable gaps in the range.
Top of the chops are the Laguna hatch, Sport Tourer and Coupe. Also disappearing will be the Espace and Grand Espace, Modus and Grand Modus, Wind roadster and Kangoo passenger car. Collectively, these make up nearly 10 per cent of Renault’s total UK sales.
A source revealed there will be no direct replacements for the Modus, Laguna or Espace families. Renault is working on small, medium and large crossovers to take their places, although it has not yet been decided if the larger models will go on sale in Britain.
First to arrive will be a supermini-SUV in 2013, to complement the new Clio range, while the larger crossovers will debut a year later.
The Wind and Kangoo have sold poorly and will be dropped altogether, even though the Wind only launched 18 months ago.
A host of new models will arrive next year, but Renault is admitting the cuts will hurt sales figures, with a significant drop from this year's 75,000 predicted for 2012, but a subsequent rise in 2013.
In addition, the company is set to reduce its dealer network by around a third from 190 at present to 135 by the start of 2013.
According to a Renault spokesman, the drastic measures are part of a plan to push the brand upmarket and increase profitability. With its budget arm Dacia launching in the UK next year, Renault now has the chance to focus on “sexier and sportier” products, and leave traditional models behind.
Clio heads new arrivals
It's not all doom and gloom, however. Nine new Renault and Dacia models will appear next year. The most important arrival is the fourth-generation Clio, on sale in November. It will be joined by a supermini-SUV in 2013, inspired by the Captur concept.
The facelifted Twingo, Scenic and Megane go on sale in January, February and April respectively, while the Twizy EV arrives in March. The Fluence Z.E. and Zoe Z.E. go on sale in May and October, and the firm’s Dacia budget brand arrives here in December, with the Duster SUV and Sandero hatch.
From February, all cars will come with Renault 4+, a four-year/100,000-mile warranty with four years’ free roadside assistance and servicing plus the option of four years of zero per cent finance.