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Opportunities promised for Renault's sales network

Renault UK’s electric vehicle offensive in 2012 will be an important part of its strategy, but won’t take focus away from its efforts with petrol and diesel car sales.

Jeremy Townsend, its communications director, said there are important developments ahead for its dealers in their core market segments.

While the carmaker’s strategic focus remains on not selling cars at a loss for the sake of volume and market share, there will be new opportunities for the network to capitalise on.

Townsend said Renault UK’s low performance in 2011 – its market share has fallen one percentage point to below 4% – was not unexpected.

“It’s certainly a strategic move with volumes. We look at every channel we sell cars in, including rental and Motability, and expect it to make money,” he said.

The fourth generation Clio will enter the market towards the end of 2012. It’s a car which Townsend described as “a real step forward” in design and quality, and will feature a 900cc three-cylinder petrol-engined derivative.

New, more efficient engines will also arrive for the Megane and Scenic ranges, like alliance partner Nissan, Renault wants its Z.E. (zero emissions) models to be at the forefront of the electric vehicle sector, which is forecast to account for 10% of the global market by 2020.

It has launched the Kangoo Z.E. commercial vehicle in the UK, and in 2012 will add passenger cars in the form of the A-segment Twizy in early spring, C-segment Fluence in late spring and B-segment Zoe in October.

Townsend said the Zoe will be a retail EV and will account for half of Renault UK’s electric vehicle volume.

Renault’s strategy is to sell the car, but lease the battery, to keep ownership costs manageable.

The UK network was recently taken to Seville for EV training and a broad marketing campaign, including TV adverts, for Renault’s Z.E. range will start in late January.

The theme will emphasise how many electric products consumers use without really thinking about it, but in the advert they will have tiny petrol engines and exhausts.

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