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Renault Australia wants the barnstorming Clio V6 for Christmas


RENAULT Australia has received approval from the Federal Office of Road Safety to import the hot new Clio Renault Sport V6. It could be on sale in Australia before the end of this year.

Launched in Europe last year and previewed here at the 2001 Melbourne motor show, the TWR-developed, mid-engined, rear-drive, 3.0-litre Clio packs a WRX-beating 166kW of power at 6000rpm and weighs in at a paltry 1335kg.

The six-speed V6 super-hatch, said to deliver 0-100km/h acceleration in the order of just 6.4 seconds, has been approved for low volume import under the Specialist and Enthusiast Vehicle Scheme, which allows manufacturers to import up to 100 vehicles without the need to complete high volume ADR certification testing.

It is believed the highly specified V6 Clio will have a sticker price of around $60,000, under-cutting Audi's heavier, less powerful S3 quattro hot-hatch by at least $5000.

Speaking at Renault's Australian relaunch in Canberra last week, Renault Australia director Richard Wilson confirmed the two-seater Clio had import approval and said supply issues would dictate exactly when the hottest Renault will become available here.

"The Clio Renault Sport V6 has proved a big success in the UK," Mr Wilson said. "So it's a question of right-hand drive availability. But we're hopeful of having it on sale here this year."

Supply permitting, it is believed an Australian-spec version of the Clio V6 could appear locally as early as the Sydney motor show in October.

The facelifted Clio range and the Laguna sedan and estate will also go on sale this year. A three-vehicle commercial range and the Vel Satis luxury car are expected in 2002.

For the first time, Renault Australia has identified which brands it believes will suffer if, like at least two other European marques, Renault is to reach its stated annual sales target of 25,000 cars by 2007.

"We think two distinct groups will emerge: Mercedes-Benz and BMW, and Volkswagen and Renault," Mr Wilson said.

"Of course, by 2007 the market will have grown but the current trend is that the Euro is remaining static as the Yen rises.

"So we expect the price of Japanese cars to rise and for some of those customers to look to European product."

Meanwhile, Renault Australia managing director Leon Daphne continues to be bullish about Renault sales targets.

He expects to sell 3500 Renaults this year, representing 0.6 per cent of the total market and 6.5 per cent of the local European market.

Mr Daphne believes good product, an extensive dealer network and a $20 million marketing budget are essential to Renault's success in Australia.


Mr Daphne is adamant that the French brand can become the most popular European brand sold here despite an absence of more than five years.
Good news if you can afford one.