Renault ends work on Mercedes-based flagship sedan
RENNES, France -- Renault is no longer working with Daimler's Mercedes-Benz brand to develop an upscale, rear-wheel drive sedan for the French automaker.
Renault stopped a feasibility study for a sedan based on the Mercedes E class platform because the "business collaboration was not favorable to Renault," a company spokesperson told Automotive News Europe today.
The automaker has been looking to develop a flagship model that would be profitable since it ended production of the slow-selling Vel Satis in 2009. The sedan would cost about 50,000 euros ($65,000).
According to a Wall Street Journal report, Renault terminated the project because Daimler was offering components from its existing E class, a model that would be nearing the end of its life cycle when Renault would start making its own version.
The Renault spokesperson declined to comment on the report. Renault's existing partnerships with Daimler remain in place, the spokesperson said.
Gaetan Toulemonde, a Deutsche Bank analyst, said Renault will likely seek another partner to develop and launch an upscale sedan.
"There have been many flops among automakers launching luxury models," he said. "Given the risks, you need to tie up with someone else. If Renault can't tie up with Daimler, then it will very likely seek another partner to reinvent itself in the high-end segment."
Renault Chief Operating Officer Carlos Tavares told Automotive News Europe at the Geneva auto show earlier this month that the automaker will concentrate on successors to the Laguna large sedan, Espace minivan and a new large crossover.
After ending Vel Satis production, Renault introduced the Latitude in Europe, a version of the Samsung SM5 built in Korea. European sales of the Latitude were just 2,085 last year, down 70 percent on the year before, according to JATO Dynamics.
Luca Ciferri contributed to this report
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