AUSTRALIA’S NO.1 AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY JOURNAL EDITION 1032 – JUL 29, 2020
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After considering its future in Australia, French brand recommits
with new-look, SUV-focused line-up from 2021 – including Arkana!
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By ROBBIE WALLIS
RENAULT has announced wide-
ranging changes to its Australian
product portfolio, axing all
passenger cars bar its image-leading
Renault Sport Megane performance
model and instead following market
trends to prioritise its SUV and
light-commercial vehicle range.
At a media briefing this week, the
local arm of the French auto giant
revealed that it had assessed its long-
term viability in Australia during what
managing director Anouk Poelmann
described as “one of the most
challenging periods in our history”.
The result was a decision to
remain operating in Australia for the
foreseeable future, albeit with a major
restructure of its model range and
priorities that sees the longstanding
Clio light hatch and the niche Zoe
electric car deleted from the line-up.
What’s more, the recently
introduced Kadjar small SUV will
be another casualty of the cutbacks,
with Renault Australia instead
developing a successful business
case for the all-new Arkana coupe-
style crossover that occupies the
same segment and will be launched
here in the second half of 2021.
Arkana will bolster Renault’s
SUV range that in the first quarter of
next year will welcome the second-
generation Captur light crossover.
An updated version of the Koleos
mid-size SUV will check in next year,
too, while Renault Australia has also
signalled its desire to add at least one
large SUV to its line-up by leveraging
its alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi.
Watch out for RS versions of
its SUVs, while further afield the
company remains hopeful the
second-generation Alaskan ute will
enable a long-anticipated entrance
into the popular pick-up segment and
strengthen its LCV stable that spans
the Kangoo, Trafic and Master vans.
Furthermore, the Megane RS comes
in for an overhaul next year, and the
A110S sportscar from Renault’s Alpine
sub-brand is also firming for launch in
2021, joining the current A110.
Continued next pageArkana
EDITION 1032 - JUL 29, 2020GoAutoNews
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Continued from previous page
Ms Poelmann said the product
rollout would play a vital role in helping
Renault achieve its goal of retaining
and strengthening its market share
through the worst of the COVID-19
economic impacts and beyond.
Through the first half of this year,
Renault sales have slipped 33.4
per cent to 2621 units, while its
market share has slipped from 0.7
to 0.6 per cent. Last year, the brand
managed 8634 sales, down almost
14 per cent on the 10,000 units it
recorded in 2018.
“In the very volatile market,
very unpredictable at the
moment, it’s honestly difficult
to forecast our volume for the
year,” Ms Poelmann said.
“All I can say is that we are
probably more focused on
maintaining our share of the
market. So far we have been tracking
well, we are tracking in the right
direction when it comes to our share,
and our ambition is to always show
year-on-year growth in market share.”
Arkana’s confirmation now places
Renault as the frontrunner to be the
first mainstream brand to offer a
coupe-style small SUV in Australia,
joining premium entrants such
as the BMW X2 and Audi Q2.
Visually, the Arkana bears
a strong resemblance to the
Megane hatch, with a nearly
identical headlight cluster
and front grille, while the
wide-set tail-light motif is
also strikingly similar.
At the Arkana’s global debut at the
2018 Moscow motor show, Renault
Australia said it was keen to secure
the model but that right-hand-drive
production remained a question mark.
While the Russian version is
built on Renault’s B0+ platform,
Australian examples will be built in
Busan, South Korea, based on the
more modern CMF-B platform.
Powertrain options are yet to
be confirmed, however the most
suitable engine choice is likely the
1.3-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder
found on the Captur and Kadjar. In
the latter it produces 117kW/260Nm.
Renault Australia senior product
manager Charly Clercin said the
decision to replace the newly
introduced Kadjar with Arkana was
due to the fact that the Spanish-built
Kadjar was already an ageing model
when it launched here late last year,
whereas the Arkana is brand-new.
As is the case with Koleos, other
advantages with Korean sourcing
include shorter lead times and
a better pricing position due to
reduced shipping costs and the free-
trade agreement in place between
South Korea and Australia.
The all-new Spanish-built Captur
is also underpinned by the CMF-B
platform and is set to arrive here
next year with a three-variant line-
up consisting of the familiar Life,
Zen and Intens variants.
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PUBLISHER: John Mellor
EDITOR: Terry Martin
JOURNALISTS: Robbie Wallis, Callum Hunter,
Byron Mathioudakis, Haitham Razagui,
Neil Dowling, Nathan Ponchard
PRODUCTION: Luc Britten
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By CALLUM HUNTER
GOING into a tyre shop for a wheel
alignment or manually tweaking your
set-up for optimum performance
could soon be a thing of the past
thanks to a new ‘active wheel
alignment system’ (AWAS)
developed by Victorian-
based company Doftek.
Considered a world-first,
Doftek’s new system is
claimed to allow for on-the-
fly adjustments of wheel
camber, caster and toe-in via a
three-mode selector switch to cater
for varying demands of a particular
road and driver.
Compatible with MacPherson
strut, double-wishbone and
multilink suspension configurations,
the system can vary the wheel
camber by up to three degrees
between normal (zero degrees) and
sport+ (-3.0 degrees), with a sport
mode treading a neat middle ground
with a camber angle of -1.5 degrees.
According to Doftek co-founder
and project leader Geoff Rogers,
AWAS addresses many of the key
shortfalls – including weight,
cost and compatibility –
found in previous attempts.
that this technology can
performance gains to vehicle
manufacturers,” he said.
Doftek says the system provides
“at least” a 15 per cent increase in
handling performance, 10 per cent
reduction in rolling resistance, and
a 10 per cent reduction in peak tyre
With those figures taken from
the first prototype, Doftek has now
secured financial support from the
federal government’s Advanced
Manufacturing Growth Centre
(AMGC) to develop the second
version which should bring “next-
generation dynamic (semi-active)
and adaptive (real-time) capabilities”
and an “improvement of up to 29
per cent in handling performance
observed during initial testing”.
The AMGC is matching Doftek’s
investment of $196,425 dollar-for-
dollar, taking the total budget for the
second prototype to $392,850.
Mr Rogers said the funding
provided by the AMGC had allowed
the company to accelerate its
development and commercialisation
efforts into global markets, with a
particular emphasis on Europe and
While the technology will
inevitably trickle down into
mainstream vehicles, Doftek says
the initial targets for AWAS are
luxury and performance vehicles
before expanding to also encompass
electric and autonomous vehicles.
Discussions around interest
levels with OEMs are reportedly
ongoing, with Doftek eager to have
prototypes fitted to manufacturer
test vehicles as soon as business
conditions improve in the wake of
the COVID-19 pandemic, with the
aim being to position the company
as a future OEM supplier.
AMGC managing director Jens
Goennemann said Doftek typified the