Renault is planning to expand into the upscale market with five new models within the next three years, sources have confirmed. Previous ventures upmarket didn't turn out so well for the French automaker, but it's determined to make another go of it with the hopes of cashing in on the market for pricier vehicles.
The first new model slated for production is a compact crossover previewed by the Kaleos concept (above) unveiled last year in Paris. It's been developed with input from Samsung Motors, Renault's South Korean subsidiary. Samsung is also expected to contribute to the development of a large sedan and a large SUV for Renault as well. Further premium models could be niche vehicles made in limited quantities, and Renault would be smart to start cashing in on its Formula One success with something other than a special-edition Clio or Megane before their racing prowess evaporates.
Management admits that previous upscale models from Renault have been less than successful, humorously referring to the dismal Vel Satis as "the automotive equivalent of wearing a suit without removing the hanger." For a time, Renault had considered acquiring a premium brand for itself, but such ventures didn't pan out, and apparently Infiniti, which came along with the Nissan acquisition, wasn't enough to satiate Ghosn's appetite for the upscale.