Renault axes half product range and sacks dealers

Renault has issued a devastating Christmas message to dealers:We'll be firing a third of you and the rest will have to contend with a slashed model range.

In a shock announcement on Monday, the French maker revealed it will be killing off a host of models from its range including the entire Gordini line-up.
Also being axed, as of February 1, is the entire Laguna range, including the hatch, sport tourer and coupe, the Espace and Grand Espace, Modus and Grand Modus.

The Wind Roadster will also get the chop along with the Kangoo car. The van just manages to survive the cull.

As part of the sweeping changes, the French firm has also issued termination notices to around 55 dealers as it aims to cut the network from 190 to "around" 135.

A Renault spokesman told us: "We currently have too many dealers, and by reducing the number of outlets, the number of units sold will also reduce. We are looking to get down to around 135 dealers. Negotiations are ongoing to decide where the closures will take place.'

We attempted to contact a number of dealers on Monday afternoon, but it would appear the news had yet to reach the ground troops.

In the official statement from Renault, the news the spokesman alluded to that sales would fall too was confirmed – 2012 registrations are expected to be just 51,000 compared to this year's final tally of more than 75,000.

There was some cheery news, though. Also from February, the firm will launch Renault 4+ which will offer a four-year/100,000-mile warranty, four years/48,000 miles free servicing, four years' roadside assistance and four years' finance.

There was also news of fresh products arriving in 2012. January will see the launch of the new Twingo, February the new Scenic, and March the all-electric Twizy.

The new Megane will appear in April, the electric Fluence ZE in May, Zoe in October, the all-new Clio 4 in November, and December will see the emergence of Dacia in the UK with the Duster launch, closely followed by the new Sandero.

However, the shock news has left many questioning the manufacturer's timing, releasing the devastating announcement just a few days before Christmas. Perhaps the season of goodwill doesn't mean much to the French maker...

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