FRANKFURT -- The new Renault Megane will stand out in Europe's tough compact segment because of its advanced technology, Carlos Ghosn, the automaker's CEO, said.
“The Megane benefits from technology that Renault has developed for our higher end models," Ghosn said at the fourth-generation's Megane's press debut Tuesday at the auto show here.
The latest Megane will offer features such as four-wheel steering, a portrait-style 8.7-inch infotainment screen, full color head-up display and a Multi-Sense driving control system. These are firsts for the mass-market volume segment, Renault says.
Along with technology such as Multi-Sense, which helps the driver to control the car's engine response, Renault is counting on the fourth-generation Megane's fresh design to help it compete better with rivals such as the Volkswagen Golf, Peugeot 308 and Opel Astra.
One of the Megane's big differentiators will be its design, said Renault Europe Chairman Stefan Mueller. “We believe we offer an emotional design that you don’t see at our competitors," he told Automotive News Europe.
Design remains the biggest reason why customers choose a car, Mueller said.
Renault has sought to give the Renault a more premium look with the car's fresh design, which has a family resemblance the Talisman midsize car that the automaker also unveiled in Frankfurt. The Megane has a large grille and swept-back, C-shaped headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights. It also has a muscular side profile with broad, sculpted shoulders.
The Megane is lower and wider than the current car with a shorter overhang to help give a sportier look. It has a longer wheelbase, boosting space for rear seat passengers.
IHS Automotive analyst Ian Fletcher said Renault is unlikely to sell as many Meganes as previous generations because the compact segment is "fiercely competitive" and the market is still suffering from the region's economic downturn. Car buyers' tastes are also switching to SUV-styled crossovers, he said.
IHS forecasts that Megane sales in the EU and EFTA markets will peak at 232,500 units in 2017, compared with about 270,000 achieved by the third generation in 2010 and 411,000 for the second-generation Megane in 2004.
The new Megane will begin to arrive in European dealerships in January.