Renault has cancelled plans to bring its high-tech baby Clio hatchback Down Under.
Initially set to land in the middle of 2020, the all-new Clio’s business case was nixed by slowing sales for light cars.
Honda used the same reasoning to justify axing the Jazz, and Ford only brings the Fiesta ST hot hatch to Australia. Hyundai no longer sells the Accent, and will offer only the Fiesta ST-rivalling N version of its latest i20 light hatch.
“We understand that Clio is a nameplate with great heritage, but the case for light cars is becoming harder to sustain,” Renault Australia senior product manager, Charly Clercin, told media.
No stock of the outgoing Clio remains in showrooms, meaning the nameplate is officially dead after almost 20 years on sale in Australia.
Sales have declined dramatically since the Clio’s 2015 sales peak of 2767 units, with just 814 sold in 2019.
The popularity of compact SUVs such as the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V has exploded as demand for light cars has dwindled.
Renault says it will focus on “segments demonstrating sustainability and growth, with far greater volume ambitions than Clio… could ever come close to” in Australia.
Renault will focus on the Captur (arriving January 2021) and Arkana (due second half of 2021) in Australia now the Clio has been axed. The only passenger car left in the Renault line-up will be the Megane RS, due for a mild update in the middle of 2021.
Revealed in 2019, the latest Clio is smaller than the old model on the outside, but packs more space on the inside. Hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains are offered in Europe, along with petrol engines outputting up to 97kW.
Inside, the new Clio is now available with a 9.3-inch infotainment screen taking pride of place on the dashboard. Fully digital instruments ranging from 7.0- to 10 inches in size are standard, and there’s more storage up front, along with wireless phone charging.