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2016 Paris Motor Show: No rush for Renault Alaskan

By Alex Inwood, 30 Sep 2016 Events

2016 Paris Motor Show: No rush for Renault Alaskan

Renault Australia is begging for it, but the French carmaker’s first ute could still be years away

IT MIGHT have been shown in production guise at Paris, but Renault’s first ever tradie ute could still be years away from hitting Aussie roads.

In fact, Renault has revealed the Alaskan pickup isn’t even confirmed to come to Australia.

Speaking to Wheels at the Paris Motor Show, Renault’s senior vice-president of Asia-Pacific, Gilles Normand, said there was no timeline for when the Alaskan would hit Aussie roads.

“I know that there is very strong appetite for that car in Australia and right now they are getting ready to develop a right-hand drive application, so it’s under development,” he said.  “For the time being there is nothing concrete for the Asia-Pacific with that vehicle.”

Renault Australia is also in the dark, and wouldn’t even offer a ballpark date for the Alaskan’s arrival Down Under.

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Production delays are behind the Alaskan’s slow appearance, with other markets tipped to receive the dual-cab ute before Aussie production even starts.

“The issue is being able to communicate when we’ll get our stock and where we sit in the sequence of markets. It’s just finalising when we ready to go,” said Renault Australia boss Justin Hocevar. 

“With Koleos, for example, we were one of the first markets in the world to get it and they haven’t even launched it in Europe yet. There will be other markets that will launch Alaskan and we’ll be sitting there eagerly champing at the bit, but our time will come.”

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It’s a frustrating wait for Renault Australia, especially given the Alaskan’s huge sales potential. Hocevar believes the Alaskan – which, similar to the upcoming Mercedes-Benz GLT trade ute, is based on the Nissan Navara – could become the brand’s best-seller Down Under.

“If I look at the segment, it has a very good possibility of being that,” he said. “The ute market is a growing segment and an important segment from a profitability point of view for a carmaker in Australia. If we could have had one yesterday, it would have been ideal.”

Hocevar also clarified Normand’s suggestion that the Alaskan isn’t confirmed for Australia.

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“Technically he’s correct,” said Hocaver. “Until you’ve got your final contracts, it hasn’t been confirmed. But this has been a project that’s been a long-time in the making. Australia has always been an important part of the business case. It’s an important model for us.”

As for the Alaskan’s Aussie spec, equipment and drivetrain options, Hocevar said it was still too early to talk specifics, but he ruled out any local suspension or chassis tuning.