RENAULT has chosen the Moscow show as the opportunity to whip the hanky off its latest crossover creation, the Arkana.
Built in the Russian capital and targeted at the domestic market, the Arkana has nevertheless ignited the interest of several markets. The company has been explicit in its statement that the Arkana is not destined for Western European markets, but has been coy about where else the car will be sold. Due to land early next year for roubled-up Russians, there’s a chance that right-hand drive world markets could get the vehicle.
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Australia is clearly one of the markets in contention for this model, to flesh out Renault’s crossover offering here alongside Captur and Koleos. Renault Australia’s corporate communication manager, Emily Fadeyev has said, “Australia has a strong SUV market and we believe there is opportunity to increase Renault’s SUV presence in the future.” Managing director Andrew Moore was even more enthusiastic, adding, “We are reviewing this new crossover and we are currently discussing it with the factory."
One of the key issues is whether there exists the return on investment for right-hand drive re-engineering. This is likely to delay any putative introduction to Australia. "We wouldn't see them within the next six months," confirmed Fadeyev.
With its BMW X4-style sloping back and tint front overhang, there’s real presence and confidence to the Arkana, finally translating the design moxie of cars like the Captur and Kadjar into a larger form. Riding on 19-inch alloys, the show car also featured a full LED lighting signature and looked production-ready inside. The Arkana has been engineered with a choice of both front and all-wheel drive chassis and will introduce a new engine line-up to the Russian market, as yet unannounced.
“The Arkana show car is a distinctive coupé-crossover, striking balance between the elegance of a saloon and the powerful stance of an SUV. We have dialled in specific Renault cues, with a strong design, strength and sensuality with a French touch,” said Laurens Van den Acker, senior vice-president, Renault design. “We can sum up the design in two words: muscular and aspirational.”
With the success of Mercedes GLE Coupe and BMW X4/X6 in Australia, it’s clear that there’s a market for premium crossover coupes. Renault hopes it can bring that styling theme to a broader market. Getting the green light from head office might prove a tougher ask than finding customers here.