Renault has today revealed the Alaskan, a dual cab utility concept that previews a future production ute for the French automaker - one which will eventually find its way to our shores.
It's a core part of Renault's plan to expand on its success with light commercial vehicles in Africa and South America - not to mention Europe where it dominates LCV sales - and it will seek Nissan's help to bring it to market.
Nissan, the other half of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, will lend the NP300 Navara's mechanicals and bodywork for the Alaskan. If this near-production concept is anything to go by, the Alaskan and Navara will share door, roof and tub sheetmetal.
We've yet to see what Renault has in store for the interior, but the Navara's 140kW/450Nm 2.3 litre twin-turbo diesel inline four is expected to be the powerplant of choice for the Alaskan.
Its positioning will likely be upmarket, so don't expect to see any bare-plastic bumpers on the Alaskan's production offspring. According to Renault, it will be "a high-end pick-up for business and leisure use, as well as for everyday motoring".
Don't expect the concept's integrated tub storage bins or 21-inch wheels to feature on the production car either.
Renault also says the productionised Alaskan (which may not wear the Alaskan name) will have a "global calling", and the brand's local operation is keen to see it in Australian showrooms.
Speaking to TMR earlier this year, Renault Australia MD Justin Hocevar said a ute was very much near the top of his wishlist.
“We’re not hiding the fact that this is a very important vehicle and that we’re very interested in it," he said.
"In fact, we’re working hard on the business case (for Australia) and it is looking extremely good. Timing is not confirmed, there is still some time to go, but we’re extremely pleased.
“Given the size of that utility market, it represents a real opportunity for us.
“We’ve got great credibility that comes from our alliance partner. This (type of vehicle) is their bread and butter and it’s great that we can share the platform and vehicle technology with them."
Expect to see the Alaskan enter its target African and South American (and possibly European) markets sometime next year, with an Australian debut to follow.
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