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Renault’s new LCV direction

Renault is to enter the global 1-tonne pick-up market by mid-2016, with the launch of Alaskan. Based on Alliance partner Nissan’s NP300 Navara, the truck will be powered by Renault’s twin-turbo 2.3-litre diesel engine, with a choice of manual and automatic transmissions.

A van market leader in Europe and South America, Renault is keen to build its global LCV business and sees pick-ups as a way into previously untapped sectors. These include the 500kg pick-up market in South America, which is now being served by Dacia’s recently launched Duster-based Oroch double-cab, and the global 1-tonne sector will be next with Alaskan. For now at least, there will be no full size pick-up for the North American market in which Nissan competes but Renault is not present.

Dubbed a show truck, rather than a concept, Nissan’s global head of LCV business Ashwani Gupta said the Alaskan is representative of what will be offered to customers.

“This show truck is very close to the actual production vehicle,” he said. “It paves the way for a new global pick-up for Renault.”

With striking styling, including an integrated Renault grille and logo, the Alaskan manages to look better than the Navara on which it is based. Don’t expect to see those 21-inch wheels or LED headlights on production models however.

“The styling of the Alaskan sticks to the rules of the pick-up segment, including impressive dimensions and a visual sense of power and robustness,” said Laurens van den Acker, senior vice-president of corporate design.

“At the same time, we have dialed in specific Renault cues in the form of an attractive, status-enhancing front-end design.”

Though the emphasis with the show truck is more on leisure than hard work, Mr Gupta said that Renault’s pick-ups will be produced in a range of versions, body types and trim levels.

“We will have different variants depending on the market,” he said. “We will have all of the possible models to suit customer needs.”

Renault claims that pick-ups account for one third of all LCV sales worldwide, totalling more than 5 million trucks, so the introduction of the two models will boost the firm’s position in both established territories and in new market areas.

Mr Gupta has big plans for Renault LCV going forwards. “We have decided to become a top global player,” he said.

“We have an industrial presence on three continents, selling in 112 countries. We are LCV leader in Europe and in the top three in South America since 2010.

“But our position is not satisfactory, as we are still a regional player. To move from a multi-regional player to a top global brand, we need to have a pick-up.

“To become a top global player 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.”

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Written by Dan Gilkes

Dan has been a commercial vehicle and construction equipment journalist for almost 30 years. An automotive engineer and former fleet manager, he has driven almost every van, pickup and truck that has been launched in Europe over that time. As editor of VFW, his aim is to keep readers up to date with the latest developments in the light commercial world.

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