Renault to expand Megane family

The next generation of Renault SA’s hugely successful Megane range will include a sport-utility and pickup truck, according to company executives.

Renault plans eight variants of the future Megane, compared with six now. Besides the sport-utility and pickup, the range will get a convertible, three- and five-door hatchback, four-door Classic sedan, station wagon and compact minivan.

All eight variants will be built off a new platform, code-named X84.

Renault’s chief designer, Patrick Le Quement, said the next generation Megane would be significantly larger and full of innovations.

“It will be the strongest design statement since the Twingo,” he said, referring to the quirky supermini that caught the imagination of much of Europe in the early 1990s.

Le Quement said the Talisman concept shown at the Frankfurt auto show in September foreshadowed the styling of the next Megane.

Renault will show the core five-door Megane at the Paris auto show in September 2002; sales are scheduled to begin in 2003. The sport-utility will replace the RX4, which is based on the current Scenic compact minivan.

At the 2000 Geneva auto show, Renault showed a radical off-road concept it called the Koleos. A Renault spokesman would not say whether the Koleos would influence the new sport-utility but did say it showed “Renault’s commitment to reinvent the leisure vehicle with a daring slant.”

The next Megane convertible will have a retractable steel roof to compete better with Peugeot’s 206CC. The next Megane three-door will be more traditional hatchback than coupe.

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com

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