Scenic trip as Renault aims for sales stability
Car sales are expected to be in the region of 140,000 this year, but it is a worrying time for the motor industry as Brexit hovers in the background.
Last year saw a huge surge of second-hand imports from the UK because of a weaker pound, which hit trade-in prices on the home market. This problem is expected to continue again this year and Renault boss Paddy Magee sees this and pre-registration of new cars by some importers as two problems facing the trade as new year sales get into full swing.
He says the trade needs a period of stability for the benefit of buyer and seller. But Renault is in a happy place, with new Scenic Megane models on the forecourts of the company's 28 outlets.
The new fourth-generation Scenic and Grand Scenic come with awards to back them up. They were voted Best MPV of the Year 2017 at the UK car of the year ceremony recently.
The stylish five- and seven-seater models came out on top for design, practicality and sense of fun, and are priced from €26,000 and €28,000. They take the use of space to a new level.
One of the jury panel said: "It is the best car to combat parental depression, and it proves there is still life in the MPV format."
Since it was launched here in 1996, the Scenic has notched up 22,000 sales and the new model comes with an impressive level of safety features in all four trim levels. Active emergency breaking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic lights, traffic sign recognition and a raised ride height are standard features. There is a choice of 1.2-litre petrol engine and three diesel engines with power outputs from 110bhp to 160bhp. New full-colour head-up display is available on the higher trim levels.
The all-new Megane comes as a hatchback, saloon and estate, with prices starting at €20,490. The new Clio comes with redesigned lights and grille and new body colours. Hands-free parking is one option and a BOSE audio system is also available. Pricing starts at €15,790.
The Zoe electric car arrives in April with new technology that gives a realistic range of 300km. This will be a big boost in the drive to get more people behind the EVs as it removes the range-anxiety factor for most drivers. A non-stop trip to Galway and Cork is now possible, with quick-charging batteries also a new benefit.
Prices of EVs remain high despite government incentives and tax relief. The Zoe is expected to be about €25,000.