Renault will be imported and managed in Australia by Ateco from the beginning of April this year.
Ateco (which currently imports and distributes Ram, LDV and Maserati in Australia) plans to maintain the current 57-strong network of Renault dealers and service centres.
Both Renault and Ateco said the move to an independent distributor is a way to make sure the French brand remains in Australia.
“This announcement by Groupe Renault secures Australia’s future as an important market,” said Renault Australia managing director, Anouk Poelmann.
That sentiment was echoed by Ateco founder and boss Neville Crichton, who said the announcement “enables the Renault brand to stay in Australia and allow its customers to continue enjoying the same high levels of service they have come to expect from one of the world’s leading automotive brands”.
At its 2015 sales peak Renault delivered more than 11,000 cars in Australia, but annual sales have slid for six consecutive years, dropping to 6904 last year.
The French brand last year declared it’s in Australia “for the long haul” with a renewed focus on SUVs and light commercial vehicles.
Renault Australia managing director Anouk Poelmann also said huge volumes aren’t the goal, as the brand pitches at buyers “seeking an alternative to the mainstream”.
It’s not clear how the move to Ateco distribution will impact the latest Renault product plan in Australia.
The changes in Australia come after Renault’s global CEO, Luca de Meo, outlined his new plan to step away from an “immoderate quest for volume” and “unresolved approach to market and brand portfolio management”.
The brand will pull back from its plan to sell five million cars worldwide by 2022, and instead focus on developing and manufacturing cars more efficiently in search of greater profit.