The popularity of the Renault Megane RS in Australia ensures the new model will arrive locally without delay as soon as right hand drive production starts next year.
Renault Australia’s managing director, Justin Hocevar has confirmed the next-generation Megane RS will launch locally early next year, with the first Australian shipment following closely on the back of the European launch ensuring Australia is among the first countries in the world to sell the highly-anticipated hot hatch.
Performance fanatics hoping to get their hands on something a little more exclusive may not be so lucky however, with Renault Sport's revived Alpine A110 mid-engined coupe still unconfirmed for Australia despite the local arm’s desire for the new model.
With the Megane RS set to make its full global debut in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Renault is slowly releasing tidbits of info about its new hot hatch including the new model’s five-door only form, the introduction of a dual-clutch automatic transmission for the first time alongside a traditional six-speed manual, and the inclusion four-wheel steering from the the Megane GT warm hatch.
Despite a 15-month gap between the regular Megane’s global reveal and its local arrival, Hocevar says the Megane RS will suffer no delays getting here owing to the traditionally strong sales of Renault Sport model in Australia.
"The good news for Australians is they won't have to wait any longer than any other market [for Megane RS]," he explained to TMR during the national launch of the Megane sedan and wagon in northern Victoria this week.
"As soon as right-hand drive production goes in, we'll be right in the mix from day one. Shipping times are about four weeks, so as soon as they start being built, whenever that is, it will be about four weeks after that.
"The only wait is the time it takes to send one out on the road."
Despite the priority treatment for the RS range Hocevar was unable to confirm the exact arrival date, but did suggest Australian’s would have access to the Megane RS during the first half of the year.
"Australia is an important market for Renault Sport globally," he said. "We rank consistently in the top five [for sales] and on previous-generation Megane we were, for a couple of years, the second-largest market after the domestic market [France], so, we're well known and loved by them and equally we love them back."
Engine capacity and power outputs are still to be confirmed with Hocevar giving nothing away about the local range, including whether all Australian-bound models will be available with both manual and auto transmissions.
"It [manual availability] has been announced globally, [but] our local strategy has yet to be announced. I've got to keep my powder dry," he said.
Despite the relative strength of Megane RS sales locally Renault’s newest performance brand, Alpine, may not be given the opportunity enjoy the same level of enthusiast support.
"I won't deny we've constantly put our hand up for [Alpine]," Hocevar admits. "Obviously, they [Alpine] have been looking at their global roll-out strategy. The confirmed launch in Japan and the UK is all ready [so] I assume therefore that it will be available in right-hand drive.
"We've put our business case forward. We wait eagerly to see if and when that eventuates for us [but] there's been no official announcement of it being available for Australia yet. We simply have to wait for head office to grant approval for Alpine for Australia."
When the Alpine A110 was first shown in concept form at the 2014 Paris Motor Show Renault executives suggested the mid-engined, rear-drive coupe would arrive in Australia with expected pricing of over $60,000 but below $90,000.
But, according to Hocevar, "a lot of water's gone under the bridge" since that time, suggesting that even if Alpine does get the green-light for Australia pricing may not be as sharp as that initial indication.
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