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Renault Espace on hold

Date: 12 November 2008   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Renault has postponed its next generation Espace because the company's latest generation large MPV was "borderline on volume targets" according to executive vice president Patrick Pelata.

He said: "The CO2 pressure is changing things more than we had forecast. We had not anticipated how many changes there would be in the upper part of the market, particularly in the UK, France and Spain. Market movements are very violent."

He said that out of 26 cars due to be granted manufacturing approval by the end of 2009 the Espace had been postponed and two others were under review.

"I would not bet my pension that two other cars above Espace will not happen but who knows," said Pelata. "When the game changes and you are challenged you have to be more innovative and have a riskier strategy in line with new needs.

On paper the Espace was fine but it was borderline on volumes, where there were question marks."

Renault, meanwhile, plans to go ahead with a large saloon developed in conjunction with Korean subsidiary Samsung, to succeed the Vel Satis that was deleted two years ago from the British line up.

But the brand's UK managing director Roland Bouchara ruled out importing the planned executive model due to concerns over volumes.

He said: "At this stage I would say no because you have to sell enough to be profitable and generate good RVs. You cannot sell these type of cars in relatively small numbers or it is not comfortable for the dealers, customers and us."

Pelata also revealed the economic crisis had ruled out one of two sports car projects, although the model "remaining in the pipeline" may be threatened if conditions deteriorate further.