French MPVs have little future in a crossover world.
Renault effectively invented the modern compact MPV. In the 1990s, whilst Chrysler was winning over large American families with its Voyager, the French company realised that people wanted smaller MPVs.
The Scenic was born and enjoyed great popularity, even in South Africa. Market demands alter over time and that reality is now forcing Renault to reconsider the composition of its product portfolio.
With the company’s accountants having calculated that Renault must save R40bn over the next two years, less popular models are being selected for discontinuation.
Renault has recognised that customer demand has diverged from MPVs to SUVs and crossovers. The company’s product planners feel that Renault has too few compact SUVs and crossovers on offer, and too many MPVs. By that logic, the MPVs simply have to go. Which is strange considering it already has Captur, Kadjar, Duster and Koleos in the SUV segment. It could be a preemptive move as rumours about the Renault/Nissan Alliance breakup could see Renault lose platform sharing rights to the Kadjar (Nissan Qashqai) and Koleos (Nissan X-Trail).
What this means for the Renault product matrix in the next year or two, is a retirement of its Scenic and Espace. Followers of the French brand will be saddened to see Scenic and Espace retire, as these are two of the most iconic Renault products.
It is especially the Espace, which has special relevance for all things MPV. Renault has produced five-generations of its large MPV, originally launching in 1984. In many ways, the Espace was a visionary vehicle for large families.
Beyond the rationalisation of MPVs, Renault could also be mulling any future investment in its Talisman. The large sedan has been a poor seller, ceding sales to similarly sized crossovers.