Fleet News

Renault heads for the big time as sales increase

RENAULT is fast becoming a major player in the light commercial vehicle sector, says vans brand manager Mark Lovett.

With sales rocketing following the launch of the Renault Trafic last year, Lovett said his aim was the make the name Renault known not as a car manufacturer which also sells vans, but as a car and van manufacturer.

He told Fleet Van: 'Our growth is unsurpassed at the end of 2001. Sales were up 22% over the previous year in a market which was up 6.5%. In the first four months of this year, sales are up 32% in a market up 4%, mainly due to the effect of the Trafic, while Clio van sales are up 95%.'

Looking ahead, Lovett is aware that Renault will be facing some stiff opposition, not least from Ford which is about to unleash a new model - the Transit Connect - into the car-derived sector.

He said: 'We know there are new product launches but we are well-placed to compete with them. Ford's launch does not deter us as we have the Kangoo and we are happy that this van is good enough to compete.'

With Renault's van range now fully in place (Clio van, Kangoo, Trafic and Master), the manufacturer is now looking to compete more aggressively in the conversion market, which is estimated to cover between 20-30% of the panel van market.

Lovett said: 'Around 50,000 converted vans will be sold this year and we need to be able to offer products in this sector. We will have a converted van brochure available at dealerships and the dealer network will be crucial in helping us achieve our aims.'

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