Australia will be among the first markets globally to launch the new Renault Megane RS, with the five-door-only fourth-generation hot hatch powering to our shores by early 2018.
There was a 15-month delay for regular versions of the fourth-generation Megane as other markets were given preference for the new small car, however Renault Australia managing director Justin Hocevar has revealed that our shores will be first in line for Megane RS.
“As soon as right-hand drive [Megane RS] production goes in, we’ll be right in the mix from day one,” he said at the launch of the Megane GT wagon in northern Victoria this week.
“Australians won’t have to wait any longer than any other market. The only wait is the time it takes to send one out on the road. Shipping times are about four weeks, so as soon as they start being built … it will be about four weeks after that.”
Hocevar said that the new Megane RS – which has so far been teased but will be officially revealed at September’s Frankfurt motor show – will definitely launch in Australia in the first half of 2018. Asked what month we could expect it, he replied: “It’s too early to say.”
But he did explain that Renault Sport prioritised the local market given its Down Under success; where sub-brand Alpine unfortunately hasn’t.
“Australia is an important market for Renault Sport globally [and] on previous-generation Megane we were, for a couple of years, the second-largest market after the domestic market,” he said of the hot hatchback’s past sales performance.
“So, we’re well known and loved by them and equally we love them back.”
With Alpine, however, the story goes the other way.
“Obviously they have been looking at their global roll-out strategy [but] there’s been no official announcement of it being available for Australia yet,” Hocevar told MOTOR.
Where Renault Sport has only revealed that the Megane RS will come with five doors, manual or dual-clutch auto transmissions for the first time, and four-wheel steering that debuted on the Megane GT, Alpine A110 specifications have been revealed and global markets have already started receiving the Alfa Romeo 4C and Porsche 4C rival.
“I won’t deny we’ve constantly put our hand up for it [and] we’ve put our business case forward,” Hocevar confessed.
“We wait eagerly to see if and when that eventuates for us. We simply have to wait for head office to grant approval for Alpine for Australia.”
A target price of above $60,000 and below $90,000 was initially set for the Alpine A110 in Australia, as the 1080kg and 4.5-second 0-100km/h 1.8-litre turbo four coupe was pitched as a grade above a 4C but below a Cayman.
But apparently a lot has changed since the boss of Alpine made that comment to Australian media at September 2014’s Paris motor show.