PARIS - Renault is studying plans to build the Megane Scenic in South Africa and Malaysia.
Production of the fast-selling compact minivan at a new plant in Curitiba, Brazil, will start in December. But Renault is now considering other sites.
'We are studying production of the Scenic in South Africa,' said a Renault insider.
The Scenic went on sale in South Africa early this year. Renault sold 760 cars in South Africa in 1997.
Renault also plans to build the Scenic in Malaysia, according to Georges Douin, head of international operations and product planning.
But the economic crisis in Southeast Asia has delayed the project indefinitely.
Production in Malaysia would be with Inokom, a local partner in which Renault and Hyundai each own 15 percent.
Since late 1997, Inokom has built a commercial van based on the Renault Trafic. Capacity is 5,000 units per year.
'The Scenic is a tool for Renault's globalization,' said Douin. 'It will be soon made in Brazil, it was voted Imported Vehicle of the Year in Japan in 1997, and we can think of other prospects.'
Douin said Renault wants to raise its global market share from 3.6 percent to 4 percent by 2003. That would amount to 2.4 million vehicles.
'We must sell 600,000 extra cars to achieve that,' he said. 'We must find two or three new targets besides Brazil and Russia. We are now making market studies for such countries as China, India, Malaysia, South Africa.'
He said Renault also wants to set up a model assembly plant, similar to General Motors' lean plant in Eisenach, Germany.
'However, we do not want to make a Palio,' said Douin of the Fiat model that was designed specifically for emerging markets. 'We think we've got the right product basis with the Clio, Megane and commercial vans.'