Renault’s new Laguna, due to debut at the Frankfurt motor show next September, will be followed by a “striking” coupe derivative, as the brand seeks to rehabilitate itself in the upper medium fleet sector after quality glitches inflicted “damage and pain”.

That is the blunt verdict from Renault UK’s managing director, Philippe Talou-Derible, who said: “We know where we came from and we know where we have to go. The new car gives us the chance of a step by step rehabilitation even if facelifted Lagunas (launched in February, 2005) are far better, almost perfect.”

He claimed the quality levels of the new Clio match rival Japanese superminis, a standard which would be applied to the new Laguna as Renault’s president, Carlos Ghosn, aims to “put Laguna on to the upper medium podium”.

Talou-Derible admitted “pushing the outgoing Laguna is in many ways a waste of time” but outlined the damage limitation plan until the new model goes on sale in late ’07.

He said: “I told my fleet team that I don’t want 100 Lagunas going to one company. I want 50 firms buying two apiece so we have more individuals saying that the car is fine. The car is too far into its life cycle to attract many new corporate customers.”

When asked about the new coupe Talou-Derible said: “That may well exist” as part of Ghosn’s strategy of building five larger Renaults before the end of the decade, including the Korean-built H45 4×4 crossover, due in 2008.

He said: “That is a pretty bold commitment and we don’t want to go too far too fast. As a company, which starts with cars selling around £7000, we must not set the ceiling too high, certainly not much above £30,000. Re-establishing Laguna, which will probably be bigger than the current car, is a central part of that process”