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Clio set to supercharge Renault sales from 2013

Sales booster: The all-new Renault Clio will arrive in Australia in the third quarter of 2013, providing a major sales boost for the French brand.

Renault on target to triple sales in four years, aided by new Clio range next year

23 Aug 2012

RENAULT Australia expects its all-new Clio light hatchback to propel its sales upwards by at least a third once the fourth-generation model lands here in the third quarter of next year.

And the company has not ruled out adding a frugal but feisty 900cc three-cylinder turbocharged engine to the line-up, alongside four-cylinder petrol and diesel offerings in the expanded range that will get its first airing at the Paris motor show next month.

Since 2007, the company has only offered the $36,490 three-door RS Clio sports flagship, selling about 400 of the hot hatches in RS197 and RS200 guises to date.

Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar told GoAuto that his company was planning to restore a much broader range of Clio variants this time around, to fully enter the light car market against the likes of the Volkswagen Polo and Mazda2.

He said that while the engine line-up was still to be decided, the three-cylinder turbocharged 900cc engine – producing 68kW at 5000rpm and 135Nm of torque at 2500rpm – was in the mix for consideration.

The little engine consumes about 4.3L/100km in economy-optimised form, although the sole diesel to be offered (68kW/220Nm) can eclipse that, with a stunning 3.2L/100km combined-cycle reading when equipped with a manual gearbox.

A direct-injected 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol will also be offered, with 90kW of power and 190Nm of torque from 1750rpm.

All Clios destined for Australia will be five-door hatchbacks, including the new RS model to arrive later.

Renault Australia has confirmed it will take the next RS Clio – thought to be powered by a 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder engine matched exclusively with a dual-clutch transmission this time around – about six months after the mainstream models arrive.

Mr Hocevar said Australia was the third largest market in the world for Renault Sport hot hatches, which currently includes the Clio RS200 and new Megane RS265.

He said such was the growth in RS volumes that Australia was “incredibly close” to overtaking second-placed Germany this year, with only France selling more.

This year, Renault Australia hopes to sell more than 500 RS Meganes and about 100 RS Clios.

Mr Hocevar declined to give specific sales projections for the new Clio, but said that when the full range was offered previously in Australia, between 2003 and 2007, it sold about 1700 units a year in its first couple of years.

“I would hope that with a bit more momentum behind the brand now, with better warranty, with more transparency on service costs, with a more competitive price point and an stronger dealer network, we can exceed those results,” he said.

Last year, Renault sold 3622 vehicles in Australia, up almost 90 per cent on the previous year.

This year, the company's sales are up a further 30 per cent, and tracking to exceed 4000 units.

If the Clio does match its previous 1700-unit performance, it will boost sales to around 6000 units, effectively tripling the French brand's volume in three or four years.

This year, Renault has gone after the market aggressively, with a zero per cent finance offer currently on the table and capped price servicing recently introduced.

The new Megane RS265 – introduced this week – has been expanded from two variants to four, helping to add some excitement into the Renault small-car range.

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