Renault will postpone the launch of its new luxury coupe, the Avantime, until September 2001. It said the delay was due to tighter requirements in 'quality, security and reliability.'
Renault is developing the futuristic Avantime with Matra Automobile, the French coachbuilder. Matra will build the Avantime at its plant in Romorantin, central France.
'We set ourselves exceptionally high quality targets - and we are expecting Matra to meet these targets,' says Pierre Alain de Smedt, Renault's executive vice president in charge of engineering, manufacturing and purchasing.
This is the second time the Avantime's launch has been postponed. Renault originally planned to introduce the car in January 2001, and then shifted the date to June.
'There's no real technical hurdle,' says Renault spokeswoman Marie de Saint-Chron. 'It's just that we want this car to be right at the cutting edge of technology, and it takes some fine tuning.'
The Avantime contains a number of innovative features. It has a panoramic glass roof, which Renault claims will be the largest on the market. There are no central pillars on either side of the car, allowing maximum lateral vision. Upper body panels are made of aluminum.
All these features are causing what Renault describes as 'micro-problems.'
Renault plans to have about 1,000 Avantimes in its European showrooms by June, but they will be demonstration models and will not be for sale. Deliveries are expected to begin in early September. The car will cost about E40,000.