Renault South Africa: Synergy with the national psyche

The fall of apartheid and the rise of democracy in South Africa can be measured in so many ways. From an industry perspective, the performance of previously absent global businesses in South Africa gives a good indication of how far the country has come; and Renault sets the barometer at a very high reading.

renault88633894Drive the Change’ represents Renault’s global vision for sustainable mobility for all through progress and perhaps, is a mantra for South Africa itself today.

It is a statement that embodies Renault’s philosophy of sustainable mobility for all; “While striving to create innovative and people-centric products inside and out, we are cognisant of the challenges being brought to bear on the environment by 21st Century lifestyles and expectations and have embraced the challenges that subscribing to this philosophy brings with it,” says Fabien Payzan, Renault SA’s Vice President of Marketing and Communication.

The French-based organisation has a proud heritage that spans well in excess of 110 years and has been an automotive pioneer since its inception. Backed by its formidable success in Formula 1 and various other forms of motor racing, Renault gained immense credibility and expertise in the field empowering it to accelerate the development and growth of the automobile, employing cutting-edge innovation in design and technology to set new benchmarks for the industry – technologically-friendly vehicles that offer the highest levels of quality and safety that fulfil and exceed customers’ needs and expectations.

Yet only a few years ago the name Renault barely registered in the South African psyche. The company first entered the domestic market in 1953, when Curries Motors imported the 4CV; five years later Renault Africa was launched.

The history of Renault in South Africa goes back to 1953. At that time, the 4CV was imported to South Africa by Curries Motors. Five years later, Renault Africa was set up to develop the brand on the African continent.

At the height of the troubles, Renault withdrew from the South Africa – and only returned to the fray in 2002, with the creation of Renault South Africa, a joint venture that is 51 per cent owned by Renault S.A.S. and 49 per cent by ICI.

The fledling company made good headway in its early years, with sales volumes doubling between 2003 and 2005, before a slump in sales slowed growth. Subsequent years have seen Renault develop the South African brand with strategic marketing and Renault South Africa ended June on a high recording the highest passenger car and light commercial vehicle sales year-to-date.

“For the six months ending June 2012, dealer channel sales were up 18 per cent on 2011 and with the introduction of Renault Fleet, we are confident that this figure will receive an added boost,” said Leslie Ramsoomar, Vice President of Sales and Operations at Renault South Africa.

“With Renault Fleet, our objective is to create awareness of the brand’s fleet-appropriate vehicles, while still building on the entire range, and we have developed an excellent product and service offering. Our core focus is to support our dealer network fleet executives and via a dedicated website, to provide them with the tools necessary to transact in the VAT-registered business-to-business fleet sales arena.”

“Our vision is to further entrench our status as a people-centric, innovative and progressive brand that will contribute to a better future for South Africa. We already have a strong market presence built around Renault’s reputation for producing well-designed, priced right, technologically friendly vehicles that offer the highest levels of quality and safety that fulfil individual customer needs and expectations,” explains Payzan.

“Technology remains a cornerstone of our product philosophy, enhancing driving safety and convenience with industry-defining systems such as the Carminat TomTom Live navigation system, featuring integrated Bluetooth and multimedia connectivity,” adds Ramsoomar. “So, on a product level, Renault will continue to leverage its creative design heritage to produce cars that are attractive, warm and welcoming – and, indeed, intuitive.

renault62515084“Renault has a vehicle to suit everyone – from the value-oriented entry level Sandero hatchback to the cheeky Twingo, upmarket Fluence, spacious Scénic, versatile Koleos crossover and, of course, the fresh new Renault Mégane. The New Clio and all-terrain Renault Duster are also in the pipeline,” he concludes.

Whilst the global economic crisis continues to hit consumer spending, Renault has seen sales in the Euromed-Africa region increase 7.9 per cent to 184,407 units during 2012.

“We will be driving our vision forward with even more progressive products and offerings, such as the latest, updated Mégane 2012 range, while delivering unrivalled service and building valuable partnerships with business and the community,” Payzan adds.

On a product level, Renault will continue to leverage its creative design heritage to produce cars that are attractive, warm and welcoming – and, indeed, intuitive.

Class-leading safety, reliability and quality contribute to a positive overall ownership experience and high levels of customer satisfaction, and these remain key priorities for Renault – from the initial design phase of a new model, right through to the after-sales service.

Environmental, efficient and eco-friendly choices are becoming more critical than ever, both in terms of sustainability and running costs. Renault has reacted decisively to this need with a raft of new-generation engines that establish new benchmarks for fuel economy and CO2 emissions.

The precedent was set with the impressive control-efficiency 1,4-litre Turbo Control Efficiency petrol engine, first seen on the current Mégane. More recently, the all-new 1.6 dCi Energy diesel engine was launched in the updated Scénic in May, offering unparalleled performance and efficiency.

These technologies are being applied to the broader product range, and emphasised in particular with the new 2012 Mégane family.

In a country that is defining itself by its rate of change, Renault can claim great synergy and hopes to build on its innovation for a long and successful future in South Africa:

renault1801445“We will continue striving to make our products and services more accessible, building on the success of the locally produced Sandero range, our innovative special edition models and affordable financing packages,” Payzan states.

“In doing so, Renault will continue to offer motorists access to the brand and its products, and indeed the lifestyle, the driving pleasure, status, space and the freedom they deserve.”