Renault to move into the luxury car segment with a new sub brand called Initiale Paris
We’re just a month away from the curtains to be raised over the 2012 Paris Motor Show. Homeboy Renault is expected to make a crucial announcement regarding its future product line up. Renault plans to enter the luxury car segment, which is currently dominated by the Teuton trio of Audi, BMW and Mercedes Benz. Renault’s entry into this highly competitive and profitable segment comes on the back of the French automaker’s alliance with Daimler, the group which owns the luxury marquee Mercedes Benz.
While Renault already builds the Citan panel van for Mercedes Benz, the French car maker also supplies the 1.5 Liter K9K turbo diesel engine to be used on the entry level A-Class and B-Class hatchbacks. In the coming years, the Renault-Nissan joint venture will help Mercedes Benz cut production costs by using their low cost production facilities to build Mercedes Benz luxury cars.
In exchange, Mercedes Benz will give Renault the know how for building bespoke luxury cars, with even the platform sharing being a big possibility. Renault already has its roots firmly entrenched in the low cost car segment with its Romanian brand Dacia, which builds a range of cars aimed at the entry level market. Renault cars like the Clio, Fluence, Scenic and Koleos, on the other hand, handle the mid range car buyers.
The luxury segment though is unrepresented by the French brand and this is a gaping hole in its product portfolio, which it wants to plug in the coming years. In the past, Renault has made an unsuccessful foray into the luxury segment with the Vel Satis, a decade ago in 2002. The Vel Satis though never found favor with buyers despite its luxury underpinnings as its performance and handling fell much short of its carpet like ride quality.
Initially, Renault plans to launch luxury editions of its existing cars like the Clio,Scenic and the Megane, as a precursor to its luxury marque foray. The Renault luxury marque could be called Initiale Paris. The cars under the Initiale Paris brand could share parts and platforms with Mercedes Benz cars, akin to the next generation Infiniti range of luxury cars made by Nissan, sharing parts with Mercedes Benz car models. For now, that’s pretty much the information we have about Renault’s foray into the luxury segment. In the next few hours, expect more clarity to emerge on this front.