Doubts over Renault Laguna and Espace return

20 Jun, 2013 5:34pm Graham Hope

All-new Renault Laguna and Espace models are in development, but the manufacturer's chief is coy over their UK return

The Renault Laguna and Espace could be gone for good from Britain.

The pair were axed from UK showrooms in December 2011, as Renault UK culled its range of cars and reduced the number of dealers in an effort to return to profitability.

Now new models of both are being developed, which will benefit from the new Renault-Nissan CMF modular architecture. But chief operating officer Carlos Tavares refused to confirm they will come back here.

“The decision will be made by [UK boss] Ken Ramirez. But in the past we have had too many cars, and it can be counter-productive,” explained Tavares.

Tavares is confident about the quality of the new cars, but concerned that Renault will not have the budget to market its entire range effectively in Britain.

“If you fragment your marketing resources, you are going to be invisible in the marketplace,” he explained. “You may have a great car, but nobody knows about it.”

He admitted, though, that dealers were keen to see the bigger models return, and have seen them already. “Yes, there is demand. We always show them [the cars] three years ahead of launch.”

A concept of the Espace – described as a mix of SUV and MPV, and coloured purple –will appear at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, alongside a facelifted Megane.

Tavares added that Renault is aiming to return a profit in the UK this year, after the drastic measures of 2011.

Disqus - noscript

Given that no-one bought the last lot, does anyone really care?

How much does it actually cost to market a car? if the cars good enough and the offers tempting enough people will buy them.

I'd love to see the Espace make a comeback but it's going to have to shake the current market up. It's no longer the big fish in a small pond

The problem with Renault UK's approach is that they are following the sames lines that numerous other European manufacturers have followed such as Fiat - reduce your range to small cars and it becomes impossible to be taken seriously to build large cars in the future. Profit margins go down, manufacturing goes out to cheaper countries while in contrast the Koreans motor on, showing confidence in producing ever bigger and more upmarket products. The problem with the likes of the last Laguna was that they were very dull cars - cars that Renault management thought they should be producing, but the market didn't. Make the new cars with flair, and buyers will come back.

having owned a few Renault's. 11, 25, megane, laguna, megane. nothing ever looked like these cars

the first laguna was a smart looking car. the update in 98 made it even better to look at and drive. after that, they made dull euro cars. the last laguna was just a recycled american nissan.

Excellent advanced dynamic design!

Looks more like what the new 2014 Qashgai should look like instead of the bland facelift model being hawked around in the media!

We moved from our Qashgai to the
new KIA Sportage CRDI because of its really good advanced styling and
specification - 16 valve, chain drive camshaft, common rail etc - and are more than happy with the change and the Sportages dynamically modern

The Qashgai being shown around is not much different from the present model and in fact looks more like a mix between a face lift and a light
skin change!

Not enough to tempt many back to the Nissan fold we fear! This apparent new model is simply not new enough and its designers should go
back to the drawing board or ring Peter Schreyer in Frankfurt!

These Renault photos show something more in the right direction for a new Qashgai!

I have the feeling that Nissans success with the Qashgai and Note have gone to their managements heads!

Over to you Jim Wright - COE at Nissan! What do you say about all this?

If you ever see smoke billowing from a car, I guarantee its a Renault Laguna. I've stopped counting how many blow up, this is one of the reasons why people stopped buying them.

I thought that the 2000 and facelift 2005 Lagunas were attractive. From an owner I knew though, the reliability had gone downhill.

The last Laguna was a little dull, though the full grille facelift did improve matters. The rear of the coupe was stunning too.

I must be one of the lucky ones. I had a Laguna for 4years with no major issues, and a Clio before that for approx 4 years with no problems. There is no doubt that some owners had horrendous reliability issues. Once a car company gets that reputation though its very hard to shake off.

The solution seems obvious to me, sell the Espace as a Nissan in the UK. They have established themselves as a popular family brand with the cash-cow and note but lack a full sized MPV in their range. The Espace with a Nissan badge could be the logical progression for familes that outgrow their Juke or Qashqai