Renault to take on Ford and Toyota with its very own double-cab ute
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Dual-cab ute lovers — you will soon have even more options to choose from.
The Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger have been two of the best selling vehicles for the past few years. But a raft of new challengers are lining up for a crack at the crown.
Renault Australia managing director Anouk Poelmann says the brand is weighing up importing a ute most likely based on the popular Mitsubishi Triton.
She maintains the ute would be a true Renault, styled to look very different from other utes built by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance.
The brand is keen to have a dual-cab ute to complement its strong commercial van line-up.
However, by the time the ute arrives it will most likely face an even more competitive market with brands such as Kia and Hyundai also announcing future ute plans.
In announcing the new ute campaign, the brand effectively axed plans to bring in the Renault Alaskan, which is sold in Europe and shares underpinning with the Nissan Navara and Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
Among the reasons cited for the change in direction was the Alaskan’s incompatibility with Australian market conditions.
“While we are actively still looking for a pick-up, it will not be Alaskan. It is not suitable in its current form for the Australian market,” says Poelmann.
Renault says the decision to axe Alaskan wasn’t based on price but rather was due to the vehicle’s suspension set-up.
The Alaskan, built in Spain and tuned to European conditions, would require a costly local tuning operation to meet local expectations.
Poelmann is coy about nominating an arrival date for the ute. “We don’t want to replace one promise with another promise we are not sure of. You can’t promise things you can’t deliver,” she says.
However, she says, “yes, absolutely” there is a better than even chance of the ute arriving in Australia but just needed more time to work on the deal — but won’t confirm whether the twin-under-the-Triton-skin is to be in the current model cycle or available after the refresh in a few years.
The announcement of a potential ute comes as the French brand makes large changes to its local line-up — a complete model overhaul will be completed by late 2020.
The new Kadjar compact SUV due in showrooms next month.