Interview: Ken Ramirez, MD, Renault UK
What are your plans for next year?
Next year is an important year for us. We’ve already outgrown the market this year, we’ve had 17% growth in fleet. Next year we have a full year on Kadjar, then we add Megane next summer. From a fleet perspective we’re growing significantly because [new products] have been able to add an RV boost which we’ve been able to sustain with our retail strategy.
With Captur at 42% and Kadjar at 43%, it is clear where the brand is going. The brand average residual value until 2013, for three years and 60,000 miles, was 27%. Now we’re 35 or 36 by the end of this year. Clearly we’re moving positively and, because of that, we’re able to have more sustainable performance and incredible offers in fleet.
How much will the Megane contribute?
Our growth on the fleet side has been driven by new models. Megane today hasn’t been able to maintain that because it’s an aged model and the residual values aren’t really there. The performance with this model should definitely be faster than the segment, faster than the fleet growth for the brand.
If you make a very rational offer you appeal only to the large fleets that purchase on numbers but not on the interest in the vehicle. What we bring is an appealing design, emotional content and a rational offer as well.
Has your small model range hindered you in fleet?
Not at all. I think that the vehicles that were removed wouldn’t have been able to command the appropriate RVs, and would have forced us to consider commercial means that would otherwise have damaged the retail performance of the brand. It’s clear that those would not have contributed to fleet, and could have contributed negatively.
Do you see a role for your big cars – Espace, Talisman and Koleos – in the UK?
Each of those is different. For Espace the segment in the UK is outgoing, it’s moving to crossovers. So we have chosen to refocus on a crossover family. We’ve added Captur in the fastest-growing segment, we’re adding Kadjar into second-fastest, and we’ll have a D crossover, whether it’s Koleos or not, coming to the UK. These are adding exactly where the growth is, where an MPV of that size is decreasing significantly. There is a space, though, for Scenic and Grand Scenic.
The D-sedan in the UK is stable but dominated by high RV players. If you can’t command a high RV you will damage yourself. So consciously we chose not to be in two of those three, but we do choose to be in the crossover world with a competitive family of products. These will be significantly and increasingly important.
Are there any plans for plug-in hybrids alongside the ZE range?
We’re very clear that the route is zero emission, however we are making a Megane in 2017 with Hybrid Assist which will give it fuel economy in the 90s and CO2 emissions in the 70s. It’s not to apply hybrid across the range but strategically in specific models.