The manufacturer recognises it has been left with a terrible legacy from the first versions of the revamped Laguna launched in 2003, and it now wants to convince fleet managers that the new model, and current versions of Laguna II, are far more reliable than their image suggests.
Keith Hawes, director of fleet and commercial vehicle sales at Renault, said: ‘Perception is a problem and it is a very frustrating one. We need to work on communicating with fleets to change people’s minds so that when we launch new Laguna they will be ready for it and will believe us when we talk about quality.’
Under Renault’s Commitment 2009 plan to improve quality, the manufacturer has set a target that Laguna III must be in the top three for quality in the upper-medium sector – and has named Toyota as its benchmark.
Although few details of new Laguna are available, Renault has revealed a few plans to add weight to its quality claims.
One of these is a redesigned keyless entry fob – a unit that caused many problems in the old Laguna because the battery was placed outside of the sealed waterproof part of the fob. In Laguna III the battery will be encased in this sealed unit to avoid problems.
Elsewhere, more expensive stainless steel pipes will be used for certain engine ancillaries to prevent corrosion and faults.
Groups of fleet managers and representatives from contract hire companies will be travelling to France next month to see the new car and receive a presentation on the quality initiatives.
Renault knows how important new Laguna is, as last year it saw fleet sales slump by 24%, with Laguna down by 40%.
Hawes added: ‘We have taken Laguna out of daily rental completely. We have taken the pain last year and can now start to build again.’