From Russia with love, Renault plots sporty SUV

By BLOOMBERG

PARIS • Renault SA is betting on a sustained recovery in Russia’s car demand, unveiling a sleek coupe-style SUV in Moscow that’ll be manufactured in the French carmaker’s second-biggest market.

The Arkana coupe-crossover, due to first go on sale in Russia next year, will help to expand the manufacturer’s offering of popular SUVs such as the Kadjar or Koleos, targeting a wealthier set of buyers. Renault needs to grow sales outside of slowing European markets to achieve a target of boosting deliveries by 40% to five million vehicles annually by 2022.

“Arkana will meet Russian customers’ aspirations but also the ones of new customers in many countries worldwide,” Nicolas Maure, Renault’s Eurasia regional head, said in a statement. “It will help Renault group to further pursue its international growth.”

Car demand in Russia returned to growth in 2017 after four years of declines, reaching 1.6 million units.

Renault and its Russian unit OAO AvtoVAZ, which makes the Lada, are the nation’s top selling automaker.

Pole position in a rising market would help the French carmaker offset an also-ran ranking in China, the world’s biggest buyer of passenger vehicles.

The mass-market manufacturer, which owns the lowcost Romania-made Dacia brand and is a long-time partner of Japan’s Nissan Motor Co, sees Russia becoming its biggest market by 2022.

Renault already builds the Kaptur and Duster SUVs at a plant in Moscow.