Renault South Africa (SA) will have a new MD from July 1.
Current Renault SA MD Nicholas de Canha has already started work at Imperial’s new Motus division – managing everything to do with motoring within the JSE-listed group – where he will look after a number of brands, including Tata, Renault, Mitsubishi, Chery and Foton.
Motus incorporates the businesses previously known as Associated Motor Holdings (the importer of Hyundai and Kia, for example) and Amalgamated Automobile Distributors (the importer for Chery, for example).
De Canha says he will be responsible for Motus’s African distribution rights, a job which currently revolves largely around the Nissan brand.
He adds that the business case for Chinese vehicles is currently “very tough”, as the pricing advantage these brands once held “has disappeared, impacting volumes dramatically”.
De Canha says more established brands have successfully rolled out less expensive vehicles to counter the Chinese pricing onslaught.
“We will need a game plan to the deal with lower sales volumes.”
New Renault MD
Renault SA’s MD designate is Mitsubishi Motors SA boss, Jaco Oosthuizen.
Oosthuizen started with a six-month handover period on January 9.
He notes that Renault SA saw its volumes drop 7.2% in the local market last year, to 18 525 units, compared with a total South African passenger car market that declined by 12.4% in 2015 compared with 2016.
“Our market share increased from 4.8% in 2015 to 5.1% in 2016.”
One of the models that has done well for the group is the entry-level Kwid, with sales of 1 200 units since its launch in mid-November.
“There are a couple of months’ waiting list for the Kwid at the moment,” says Renault SA marketing and communications VP Brian Smith. “We have underestimated demand.”
“Renault is doing well,” adds Oosthuizen. “We are in a good position with a number of new models on the way.”
These newcomers include an automatic Duster, a new Clio derivative, a facelift for the Captur, and a newcomer to the Sandero Stepway range.
The introduction of the Koleos is currently the subject of a feasibility study.
The arrival of the Oroch small bakkie and Alaskan one-ton bakkie are not confirmed.
Another new model that has just made its debut is the Kadjar XP.
The rand traded at R16 to the euro when the Kadjar was launched in South Africa in the second quarter of last year, strengthening to around R14 to the euro in 2017.
“This has presented us with a great opportunity to add value to our product line-up,” says Smith.
This value comes in the form of a number of extras added to the entry-level Expression derivative, with its 96 kW 1.2 l turbo petrol engine and six-speed manual transmission.
The Kadjar XP Limited Edition features 17-inch alloys, cornering fog lights, a swan-neck tow bar kit, side steps and roof rack at no extra cost.
The vehicle is priced at R364 900.