And while an SUV has been tipped to lead the division’s diversification plans, the reality is far more complex.
At the international launch of the new Megane range in Portugal, The Motor Report had a chat with Renault Sport’s sales and marketing kingpin, Regis Fricotte, about what Renault Sport has in the pipeline.
While opportunities are limited for the coveted RS badge, Renault Sport is also tasked with developing Renault’s growing range of GT models - models that are sharper than a standard car, but forgo the uncompromising (slash uncomfortable) edge of a full-blown RS model.
“If you take Talisman or Espace, you could well imagine that there could be… a Talisman GT, it’s difficult to imagine a Talisman RS," Mr Fricotte said.
“So, we can’t do everything, but to answer your question we will only make an RS, or call something an RS, if we believe that it’s worth calling it an RS.”
While a growing range of GT models will help Renault Sport increase its output, the two models mentioned by Mr Fricotte, the Espace people mover and Talisman sedan and wagon, aren’t destined for Australia due to the absence of right-hand-drive versions.
Another growth opportunity lies in the fast-growing SUV market. While premium manufacturers have been quick to embrace the concept of a performance SUV, mainstream companies have been a little slower to react.
Mr Fricotte said that Renault Sport is aware of the potential in the market for such a model.
“We don’t ignore,” he said of an SUV being given the Renault Sport treatment.
“Ignoring would be ‘we’re not looking at it’ so we’re looking at what we can do.”
Instead of wearing the coveted RS badge however, a Renault Sport SUV is a likely fit for GT branding.
“You’re not going to lower an SUV, that’s the opposite of what it’s been created for. So there are other compromises and other positioning to be developed if we’re looking at an SUV.”
While Mr Fricotte remained tight-lipped about which of Renault’s growing SUV range could be enhanced by Renault Sport, the two smaller vehicles in the range, Clio-based Captur and the larger Kadjar, (which shares its platform with the new Megane, but won’t be offered in Australia) are the most likely candidates.
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