News that Renault is about to axe five models and 55 dealers sends a stark warning to the UK car sales sector. Is this the start of shrinkage in the car market that will one day see us all having to drive the same car?
Renault’s move leaves just four current models on sale: Twingo, Clio, Megane and Scenic, and reduces the number of dealers by more than a quarter to around 150.
As the owner of a Modus – one of the five cars being discontinued, along with the Wind, Laguna, Kangoo and Espace – I know I can soon expect to see steep decline in my car’s value.
And from a wider point of view, it also halves the car models I can choose from if I want to replace my car with another Renault.
A world of shrinking choices
If other carmakers follow Renault’s lead, we could end up with a very limited choice of cars in the future. We may eventually only be able to buy a Scenic from Renault, Focus from Ford and a 3 Series from BMW.
This may seem a bit far-fetched, but don’t forget that we’re already living in a world of shrinking options. A world where it’s hard to tell which city you’re in once you’re ensconced within the corporate walls of a hotel chain. And if you go outside and walk down any high street, from London to Moscow, most of the shops will be international chains selling the same items.
So choices are already being restricted in other areas of our lives – cars could easily follow.
A better warranty
In Renault’s defence, it stated at the same time that it will be introducing four all-new models between February and October. However, the Twizy, Kangoo van, Zoe and Fluence electric vehicles are highly unlikely to account for more than 2-3% of its UK sales, which is far less than the 10% figure claimed for the outgoing models. So this feels more like a smokescreen rather than a genuine excuse for halving its model line-up.
In a more positive note for owners, the French carmaker has upped its warranty cover from three years/60,000 miles to four years/100,000 miles.
This is great news considering Renault’s woeful reliability record according to the annual Which? Car Survey. Though I wish it had been introduced sooner – as my Modus developed a costly electrical fault just one month out of warranty.
I will be watching other carmakers closely, to see how they respond to the model culling and warranty increase.
Do you own a Renault model that’s being discontinued? If so, are you worried about how this will affect your car’s value? And do you think other struggling car makers will soon follow with their own culling exercises?