While Renault seeks to secure its footing in the value-focused B-segment, the company is also investing heavily in expanding its offering in the larger and more expensive C-segment – and as part of that, it will launch a new SUV to rival the likes of the Toyota C-HR.
The new crossover is understood to be only slightly larger than the Clio-based Captur, at around 4400mm long, and positioned to fill the gap between that car and the coupé-backed Arkana.
It will effectively straddle the boundary between Renault’s small B-segment line-up and the larger Arkana, Austral and Rafale SUVs, priced from around £25,000.
Product performance boss Bruno Vanel explained why Renault is expanding its line-up in this area: “We were a lot focused on the B-segment – maybe a little bit too much – whereas the European market is at least as much focused on the C-segment.
“What we did is balance our focus a little bit more between the C-segment and B-segment – and from less than 25% of our sales being C-segment, we have almost reached 40% in recent months.”
Due in 2024, the as-yet-unnamed C-HR rival will likely be based on the same CMF-B architecture as the Captur.
That would enable it to offer the same choice of full- and plugin hybrid powertrains while potentially paving the way for a pure-electric derivative further down the line, based on CMF-BEV (now known as Ampr Small).
Vanel said introducing a car in this space would be emblematic of the brand’s push for higher margins with a new target demographic: “We are going for [it with] the Rafale and the Espace. These are sort of new areas for us, these kinds of SUVs.”
He added that “higher turnover is important for us, maybe also with some more affluent customers sometimes”, but Renault does “not want to lose” its traditional customer base.
“We are not aiming at being premium,” said Vanel. “I would say being at the top of what you call the mainstream, but a little bit more at the top than at the bottom, for sure.”