Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Renault Moves into Third Spot

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Renault Moves into Third Spot

Article excerpt

Renault is now the UK's third best selling car brand, behind Ford and Vauxhall, but ahead of Peugeot for the first time.

The brand is proving especially popular among private buyers, where distinctive design, strong second-hand values, and above all safety are deciding factors, unlike the cost-dominated priority of fleet operators.

Last year was one of the most momentous ever for Renault, because it laid several important foundations for the future, not least of which is its acknowledgement as a producer of the world's safest cars. The company's accelerated success is partly due to distinctive designs across the range, most of which were renewed during the year with the introduction of the new Espace, Scenic, Megane Sport Saloon, and Coupe-Cabriolet models.

Whilst the adventurous Avantime proved too cutting-edge for traditionally conservative UK tastes, the radical styling of the Megane is now appreciated, a year after its launch when many people were surprised.

In Scotland and Northern Ireland, whose markets are dominated by private buyers rather than fleets, the Megane is the top seller. This could be the case in England and Wales too, as a growing proportion of new cars are bought by private motorists.

The entry-range Clio proved again to have Va Va Voom, recording 83,996 registrations, moving it up to fifth place in the UK Top 10, which is its highest ever position.

The 2003 International Car of the Year proved to be a big hit with car buyers as sales of the Megane comfortably improved on the previous models. With 31,847 Hatch and Sport Hatch models hitting the road in their first full year of sales, this was an increase of 17 per cent on the previous Hatch and Coupe in 2002, with buyers citing the adventurous design and five-star EuroNCAP safety rating among the main reasons for choosing it.

New Meganes introduced in the autumn included the Coupe Cabriolet, Sport Saloon and Sport Tourer, and September saw one of the major new launches of 2003 with the second generation Scenic arriving.

Total sales of the new Megane range, including Scenics, were 71,486, which is up by 6.5 per cent on 2002, moving the range up two places in the best-sellers chart to seventh. …

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