See, France doesn't usually do pickups. It'd be like America doing a perfect ratatouille or building something as beautiful as the Palace of Versailles. But with the Alaskan, Renault looks to tick all the pickup truck boxes.
The double-cab sits ahead of the decent-sized bed. Between the two, the Alaskan can haul up to 2,200 pounds and five passengers. There are big, knobbly tires and an elevated ride, both of which should give the Alaskan a degree of off-road prowess, although Renault claims that "user-friendly driving comfort" is still a priority. The overall look is rather brutish and tough for a French vehicle, with a high rear bumper and ample protection under the front bumper, giving the Alaskan what we'd imagine is an impressive approach and departure angle. The grille is suitably in your face, although the refined look of the headlights is a bit jarring when compared with the rest of the vehicle.
Power for the small truck should still be impressive, owing to the twin-turbo, four-cylinder diesel engine situated under the hood. According to Renault, the powerplant will deliver best-in-class fuel economy.
Renault claims the production version will adhere closely to what we're seeing here. The dimensions should be the same and the design "will be similar in spirit." And unlike competitors like the Volkswagen Amarok, Renault will situate the production Alaskan as something more in line with American pickups, offering it as a vehicle for "business and leisure use, as well as for everyday motoring," rather than as a work horse. So don't count on seeing this thing bounding around the vineyards of Bordeaux, a bed full of grapes.
Read on for the official press release from Renault.
Renault ALASKAN Concept previews forthcoming pick-up model
ALASKAN Concept designed for business, leisure and everyday use
New one-tonne pick-up model to be unveiled in first half of 2016
Pro+ global expert brand unveiled to serve LCV customers and users
Renault has been number one in LCVs in Europe for 17 years
As Europe's number one Light Commercial Vehicle (LCV) brand for the past 17 years, and in addition to its strong positions in the South-American and African markets, Renault Group is now shifting up a gear with a view to taking Renault LCV forward from being a top regional player to a top global player.
In order to achieve this ambition, Renault has decided to move into the pick-up market, a segment that accounts for more than one-third of global LCV sales. Last June, in Buenos Aires, the brand launched the distinctive new Renault Duster Oroch pick-up which is intended for the South American market, while the ALASKAN Concept that is being unveiled today is a striking show truck which paves the way for a forthcoming model that will have a global calling.
In parallel to its product and market offensives, Renault is also launching Renault Pro+, a global expert brand committed to serving LCV customers and users. In addition to providing tailor-made products and services, the specialist Renault Pro+ network will deliver a rewarding experience at every step of the journey for business-user customers, from advertising to aftersales service. The Renault Pro+ expert brand embodies Renault's customer promise and forms an integral part of its plans to become a top global LCV market player.
"We are now equipped to take our Global Growth Plan forward and fulfil the aspirations of business users and individual LCV customers across the world thanks to an enhanced product line-up, new services and an upgraded customer experience", commented Mr Ashwani Gupta, Vice-President, Global Head of LCVs.
RENAULT'S LCV CREDENTIALS
A worldwide player, with a broad geographical spread of production facilities
Vehicles sold in 112 countries, with top markets outside of Europe being Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, Morocco and Algeria.
Vehicle production on three continents: Europe (France), America (Argentina, Brazil) and Africa (Morocco).
A regional leader*
Number one in Europe since 1998,
Number one in North Africa since 2010,
A top-three player in South America since 2008.
Strong positions in many countries*
Brazil: Kangoo #1, Master #1
Argentina: Kangoo #1, Master #2
Columbia: Kangoo #1, Master #3
Algeria: Kangoo #1, Master #1
Morocco: Master #1, Kangoo #3
Australia: Kangoo #2, Master #3
A leading position in the electric LCV market
The first mainstream brand to market an electric LCV,
The Kangoo Z.E. is sold in 45 countries,
The Twizy Cargo is the latest addition to the LCV Z.E. range.
Solutions for all customers
From tradespeople to big LCV fleet operators worldwide,
A network of 360 approved converters in 27 countries to adapt vehicles to customers' needs.
(*) Not including pick-ups
Renault takes the wraps off the ALASKAN Concept pick-up, a one-tonne show truck
After introducing the Duster Oroch earlier this year, Renault is now taking the wraps off the ALASKAN Concept which marks a further step forward in its bid to win over customers in the constantly-growing pick-up market. Pick-ups account for around one-third of total LCV sales and open up a fresh front for Renault's product offensive.
The ALASKAN Concept is a striking show vehicle that paves the way for a pick-up that will have a global calling. It combines a payload of one tonne with cutting-edge, athletic styling to meet the exacting needs of business users and individuals alike.
The ALASKAN Concept: robust, athletic, cutting-edge styling
The ALASKAN Concept's status-enhancing design fits perfectly with the aesthetic expectations of the pick-up segment, whilst remaining true to the Renault brand's own styling cues.
The dimensions of the assertive, status enhancing ALASKAN Concept ensure a forceful stance,
The design of its robust yet athletic sculpted sides includes prominent wheel arches filled with 21-inch wheels,
Its lines combine a sense of high-tech engineering with an impression of robustness.
Its eye-catching front-end styling incorporates Renault design cues which bring a modern, aesthetic touch to the world of pick-ups:
A large, prominent logo,
An impressive bonnet highlighted by four sculptured ribs that heighten the impression of strength,
A combination of satin-effect, brushed and polished metal finishes,
Blue and yellow detailing on the door mirrors, brake calipers, wheel rim centres and front tow hook visually enhance the ALASKAN Concept's poise,
C-shaped head lights,
Full-LED lighting signature.
Laurens van den Acker, Senior Vice-President, Corporate Design, commented: "The styling of the ALASKAN Concept sticks to the rules of the pick-up segment, including impressive dimensions and a visual sense of power and robustness. At the same time, we have dialed in specific Renault cues in the form of an attractive, status-enhancing front-end design."
The ALASKAN Concept is powered by Renault's proven four-cylinder, twin turbo diesel engine which features in the existing Master range:
Twin turbo technology: a small turbo for smooth acceleration at low engine speeds, plus a bigger turbo for higher revs.
This longitudinally-mounted twin turbo powertrain is lighter than average equivalent engines,
Outstanding acceleration performance, plus class-topping fuel economy and low CO2 emissions.
The ALASKAN Concept: designed to make the most out of life in three different worlds
The ALASKAN Concept is a 'work hard, play hard' all-road vehicle designed to meet the requirements of three different worlds: business and leisure use, plus everyday motoring.
Perfectly suited to the needs of business users:
Strong chassis for excellent road holding, high ground clearance and distinctive driving comfort,
A payload of more than one tonne with five passengers onboard and a long, wide load bed,
Load bed incorporating three longitudinal recesses suitable for fixing equipment,
Additional storage bins either side of the load bed for the secure protection of equipment,
Best-in-class fuel efficiency, plus impressive power output and acceleration performance.
The ALASKAN Concept is the perfect companion for leisure use, too:
Ideal for road trips, adventure or sports use. Its big load bed can comfortably accommodate mountain bikes, camping gear or surfboards, etc. Availability of a range of outdoor accessories (load bed liners, covers, etc.),
Premium travelling comfort, together with highest quality standards in terms of equipment and connectivity,
Last but not least, a camera located inside the door mirror housings to permit the filming of passing landscapes.
For everyday motoring:
A status-enhancing vehicle complete with large 21-inch wheels, user-friendly driving comfort and modern urban styling that sets it apart in the pick-up world,
A sporty, appealing look:
Large LED Pure Vision rear lights with brushed and polished aluminium surrounds framed by C-shape direction indicators,
Sophisticated rear-end styling heightened by the central aluminium exhaust tail pipe.
Hasselblad and ALASKAN Concept
Renault and Hasselblad worked jointly to underline the ALASKAN Concept's ability to adapt to three different types of use: business and leisure use, and everyday motoring. Hasselblad is a Swedish manufacturer of cameras and photographic equipment. It is famous for having provided photographic equipment for the Apollo programme which took men to the moon for the first time.
A one-tonne pick-up to follow in the wake of the ALASKAN Concept show truck:
The production version's design will be similar in spirit to that of the ALASKAN Concept and will feature the same dimensions,
A broad range of body types and powertrains will be available,
It will be a high-end pick-up for business and leisure use, as well as for everyday motoring,
It will capitalize on Renault's crossover know-how with models like Captur and Kadjar.
This new one-tonne pick-up will be unveiled in the first half of 2016.
2. Renault outlines its ambitions for the LCV market
As Europe's number one Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) brand for the past 17 years, and in addition to its strong positions in the South-American and African markets, Renault is now shifting up a gear to take Renault LCV forward from being a top regional player to a top global player. LCVs are a major strategic market, with over 14 million sold in 2014.
In order to achieve this objective, Renault has embarked on assertive product and market offensives, while at the same time striking up solid partnerships and enhancing the experience of its customers thanks to the Renault Pro+ expert brand.
A multi-faceted offensive: products, markets and partnerships
Renault LCV is launching an ambitious product offensive, as illustrated by the ALASKAN Concept which paves the way for the one-tonne pick-up.
Other illustrations include:
A renewed LCV range
The New Trafic and New Master in 2014.
The new Kangoo mid-2013.
The new Renault Trafic (270 variants)
A brand new vehicle and a true mobile office.
A huge success with sales amounting to 40,000 vehicles up to end of June 2015, an improvement of 12.5% over the same period in 2014.
A multiple award winner, including the 2015 Argus Trophy in France, What Van? awards in the United Kingdom, Van of the Year in Finland, Best LCV in Germany and Croatia, etc.
"The new Trafic replaces the former-generation version which reached sales of more than 1.6 million units. The new Trafic has received a high number of awards; it features numerous innovations, including its Wide View mirror and its mobile office," commented Pascal Schmitt, Global Commercial Director, LCV Division.
The new Renault Master (350 variants)
New front design, engine range renewed, latest technologies (incl. ESC, Extended Grip, Wide View mirror etc.), for an updated leader.
Renault was the first brand to offer an electric LCV range (Kangoo Z.E. and Twizy Cargo).
The Kangoo Z.E. is marketed in 45 countries.
Renault is also launching an offensive in the pick-up market. The pick-up market accounts for more than 5 million vehicles in 2014.
The growth in the global LCV market can be primarily attributed to the expanding pick-up market, which comprises three classes:
Half-tonne pick-ups: 3% of the global market, with a growth perspective of 35% between 2014 and 2019.
One-tonne pick-ups: 17% of the global market, with a growth perspective of 19% between 2014 and 2019.
Full-size pick-ups: 18% of the global market (90% in the US and Canada).
Source: Global Insight
Renault's pick-up market offensive: a four-step strategy:
The Duster Oroch Concept, unveiled in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in October 2014
The Duster Oroch, unveiled in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in June 2015,
The ALASKAN Concept, unveiled today in Paris, France,
The one-tonne pick-up, due in the first quarter of 2016, with a global calling.
Focus on the Renault Duster Oroch, designed in and for Latin America
The Renault Duster Oroch is the only pick-up designed on a Sport Utility Vehicle platform, that of the Renault (Dacia in Europe) Duster.
It is a genuine, nimble and reliable double-cab pick-up, with four doors, five seats, and a generously sized load bed. It inherits the Duster's styling, equipment and accessories, along with additional upgrades and innovations. Its in-car equipment package is worthy of that of a C-segment SUV.
A wide range of accessories allows users to personalize their vehicle and adapt it to their particular use. The Renault Duster is a global success. It is the Group's best-selling model: about 400,000 units in 2014 in some 100 countries.
Along with its product and market offensive, solid partnerships are a fundamental part of Renault LCV's Global Growth Plan:
Nissan and Renault together have developed the one-tonne pick-up truck for Renault which will share some of its architecture with the Nissan NP300.
Nissan, Daimler, General Motors Europe and Renault Truck are sharing Renault LCV products, components or expertise thanks to strong long-lasting partnerships.
Fiat is a recent newcomer to the Renault LCV partnership portfolio. The Sandouville plant in France is to build a Trafic-based Fiat LCV from mid-2016.
Launch of the Renault Pro+ global expert brand
Business customers have specific needs. Building an expert brand provides Renault with an opportunity to address business customers with specific communication and a clear message. The brand is also a marker of the specific services that Renault Pro+ offers to its business users.
Renault Pro+: an expert-brand with global ambitions
Renault is launching Renault Pro+, a worldwide expert brand dedicated to buyers and users of light commercial vehicles, providing tailor-made products and services through a highly trained specialist network.
Until now, Pro+ was the name for Renault LCV's specialist network, offering comprehensive services to LCV buyers and users, in specific points of sale with high volumes of LCV activity.
Now, as an expert brand, in addition to be a specialist network, Renault Pro+ will accompany Renault's LCV customers along their entire journey, from searching for the right vehicle and purchasing it, to the whole ownership period-ensuring a positive customer experience throughout the vehicle's lifetime.
The Renault Pro+ expert brand embodies Renault's promise to its LCV customers, as well as its ambitions in the global LCV marketplace.
"Using Renault Pro+ as an expert brand is a strong commitment to meet the needs of our LCV customers. The customer experience we offer will expand thanks to our bespoke know-how and by strengthening our offer in terms of products and services", commented Fabien Goulmy, Renault Pro+ Brand General Manager.
Specific Renault Pro+ products
The products Renault Pro+ offers LCV customers feature three differentiating characteristics:
'Tailor-made' vehicles, as illustrated by the extent of Renault's LCV range (more than 640 versions) and specific adaptations which provides a response to all types of customer needs.
'Ingenious Innovation', as illustrated by the Wide View mirror which optimizes driver and passenger safety,
'Easy Experience', as highlighted by the Trafic and Master's Mobile Office concept which provides a seamless extension of the user's actual office,
Dedicated Renault Pro+ services
In 2020, 80% of the Earth's population will be connected. The internet is a constantly available interface between customers and car dealers and manufacturers.
Renault Pro+ accompanies all of its customers along every step of their personal journey, from looking for a new vehicle on the internet to servicing and repair requirements: a smooth, simple customer journey.
The services provided by Renault Pro+ will differ slightly depending on individual markets:
Some services focused on LCV buyers, such as the Converter Vehicle Financing available in France and Poland, will be more broadly deployed through Renault Pro+ expert brand.
Other bespoke services will be developed in order to answer the local needs that can vary from one country to another, i.e. specific leasing offers for LCVs with bespoke finance plans for vehicle conversions, insurance plans for tradespeople, used LCV programmes, etc.
Renault Pro+: a network of specialists
Today, some 600 specialist dealers across the world are providing LCV customers with their broad expertise.
The Renault Pro+ specific network is perfectly qualified to meet the needs of business users.
These services combine with extended opening hours, fast servicing, while-u-wait diagnosis and the availability of replacement vehicles to keep customers on the move and working.
"Our ambition is to take Renault LCV forward from being a top regional player to a top global player. To achieve this, we have planted the right seeds by moving into new markets, introducing new products, striking up new partnerships and providing our customers with an upgraded experience. We are now ready to roll out this strategy via our new Renault Pro+ expert brand", commented Mr Ashwani Gupta, Vice-President, Global Head of LCVs.