Renault has dropped the guillotine on two of the largest models in its range – the Grand Scenic people carrier and the Koleos SUV.
The company has cited “commercial reasons” for chopping the two models, which in plain English means that it couldn’t sell enough of them to make it worth the effort. Both will continue to be sold in Europe.
The Grand Scenic is Renault’s sole seven-seater model, and its departure comes after the regular Scenic was dropped last year.
Renault has said that the decision to remove the Grand Scenic from the range was made prior to Covid-19, and that the pandemic’s outbreak did not affect its plans.
The Grand Scenic will continue to be sold in Europe, however, as well as the Koleos. Originally launched in 1996, the standard Scenic and larger Grand Scenic have often been seen as a go-to option for families.
Introduced in 2017, the second-generation Koleos took its spot as the firm’s flagship SUV above its smaller Kadjar. Based on the Nissan X-Trail – utilising an Alliance platform sharing plan – the Koleos has only been available with five seats, while the Nissan offered a popular seven-seat option.
Renault issued separate statements confirming the axing of each model, although the comments were virtually identical, noting that the company has revised many of its core models in recent months and will be launching future new models in months to come.
A sign of things to come for the car industry in a post-coronavirus market?
Despite Renault’s insistence that the Grand Scenic’s withdrawl was decided before the pandemic hit Britain (no such claim was made for the Koleos, incidentally), it seems likely that every car manufacturer is going to be assessing its line-up and making some tough calls on which models are not worth keeping on. So it’s likely that others will be pruning their family trees in a similar fashion to Renault.
The Grand Scenic’s demise is not altogether suprising given the fall in demand for MPVs, with the vast majority of consumers preferring SUV models as large family cars. However, that makes the decision to cull the Koleos somewhat more surprising, since it is precisely that sort of vehicle. The Koleos was only updated at the end of last year, when it received a revised look, new engines and additional tech.
It’s been a tough year for Renault so far, even by the low standards of new car sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. The UK’s new car registrations are down by 48% for the first six months of the year, but Renault is down by 52% – despite all-new Clio, Captur and Zoe models arriving in the last 12 months. The company is also facing legal action over claims that more than a million Renault and Nissan vehicles were fitted with illegal emissions defeat devices.
When it comes to vans, the picture for Renault is even bleaker. The overall UK van market is down by 44% for the first half of 2020 compared to 2019, but Renault is down by a whopping 65%. Could we see more underperforming models being given the chop in coming months?
Additional reporting by Jack Evans, PA Media