The head of Renault’s compact models, Andre Abboud, says European demand for minivans such as the Scenic definitely is “not dead.” Abboud also says sales are stabilizing for compact sedans such as the Megane after years of losing volume to SUVs. Abboud shared his views during a recent interview with Automotive News Europe France Correspondent Bruce Gain.
What are your expectations for the new Scenic?
When you look at the MPV (minivan) market share and the Scenic, you see that sales are very stable [the Scenic was Europe’s No. 2-selling compact minivan in 2015].
So minivans are far from dead?
They are not dead. There is still plenty of room for MPVs. In Europe, the share is more than 18 percent. The customer still needs cars that have a lot of modularity and room inside. So what you need to do is to put a little bit of emotion in those cars and then you can make it a success.
How does the Megane fit into Renault’s strategy to make its vehicles more upscale?
Our customers simply want more. Yes, we are making our cars more upscale but our customers in Europe also want a modern design, which the Megane offers. Technology is a big part of their lives and they want to have that experience in their car as well.
But without raising prices?
Yes, we are even lowering the price of some of the Megane versions.
So there is also plenty of life in the compact hatchback and station wagon sectors?
Yes. We have sold 6.5 million sedans in this sector so the Megane remains a core model for Renault and there is no doubt we needed to replace it. And when you look at the compact sector in Europe, the hatchback and the station wagon together represent almost 50 percent of the segment.