Renault Megane in the US?

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It seems that Renault is really interested in Saturn.
That means we could actually get the new Megane in the US.

The car already comes as a 5 door hatch, a coupe and a wagon. With a sedan and convertible coming up.
Saturn sold tons of Ions a few years ago. So why not this…

Is our market ready for this?
Would you buy one?
Can they succeed importing a small Euro car where GM failed with the Astra?

Conversation 23 comments

  1. Vince, bottom line here is that they need to follow Saturns original thinking of ecomomical practical and affordable compact cars to compete with the best that the Asian manufacturers have to offer! If they can do this then they will have succeeded in keeping Saturn alive!

  2. The Megane would really jumpstart Saturn. I still don’t understand why Renault would want the Saturn brand when they have Nissan. Why repeat GM’s mistake of having multiple car lines compete over the same customers?

    Fiat is about to make the same mistake by having too many overlapping brands if they buy Opel and Saab.

  3. The Astra was over priced for what it was. I looked at a few of them and found that I could have gotten an Aura XE 4 cylinder for almost the same amount of money. & the fuel ecomomy wasn't that much better either.

  4. Don’t jump the gun, people. They may be buying the brand to get the dealer network. They can retire the Saturn name over time. I think there are around 450 Saturn dealers nationwide all looking for a cohesive, complete, and common model line-up … and Renault offers this relatively quickly.

    I would strongly consider the Megane Coupe in the picture. I would love a good sporty fun-to-drive hatch with visual appeal at a good price. The market for this in a year will consist mainly of the next Focus, the Fiesta, and Mazda 3, and the Golf. The Golf I’ll skip due to quality/service cost issues, the new Mazda 3 looks assy, so that leaves the Fords which are nice. I would have quality concerns with the Renaults but I would give them a strong look.

  5. I think it is a pretty good idea to me. French vehicles aren’t exactly known for their quality or reliability though.

    I think we would sooner see a Chinese automaker purchase Saturn than a French one. I’d rather have French.

  6. If Renault does buy Saturn, I’d like to see a Laguna sedan with the Maxima’s 290 hp V6 under the hood.

  7. I would definately buy one. Reneault makes some great products and we are deprived of in NA.

    Then again, Canadians are more open to and buy more smaller cars.

  8. why Saturn? Is it not really a brand that everyone goes ‘oooh.’ The only reason I could think of is that they want us Americans to buy into the idea of ‘buying American’ instead of Japanese. That might work on the most uninformed Americans but maybe that group is big enough to put Renault in the black.

  9. Vince, with all due respect:

    I drove a Renault Encore for 2 years. Literally, it was the worst car I ever drove. Underpowered, overworked (and overheated CONSTANTLY), broke down like once a month and hard to get someone to work on it, and make the work stick. It was all I could afford at the time, and yes, i know it was part AMC, but still, I had more problems with that hunk of junk than any other car I’ve ever owned.

    There’s no way on God’s green earth I’d ever let a loved one drive one of these, period. Once a lemon, always a lemon. Saturn would be better off with Geely or Tata or Subaru (same demo IMHO)…anyone else, but Renault.

    Vince, I have no idea why you are so high on Renault. I’d love to see a blog from you on why you love this french frog so much. Peugeot, I could see, but this??? try living with one, go 2 years with one, and you will see it’s a frog, and not a prince.

  10. First, Americans WILL buy cars with hatches… some automakers have figured out how to do that and be successful, some havent. And when those cars fail, they blame the market here (ie: we only like sedans). Well, the Saturn Astra failed because it looked old when they finally got off their asses and introduced it, and it wasnt priced in line with what you got. To be honest, the 3-dr was just too small and difficult to see out of. And if the interior isnt great, so why waste your money. Other mfrs can get it right. Small 5-dr hatches DO sell. Look at the Fit, Mazda3 5-door, etc.. If some maker was smart, they’d decide this kind of 5-dr needs to be just a bit bigger in dimensions, have great modern bodywork, and a wowing interior design. Unfortunately, we mostly get stuff like the Astra, or more of the same big$ me-too’s like that Acura ZDX monstrosity. I call it low-expectations.

  11. these renaults you see here have proven to be bulletproof. why? Nissan chassis and components. I would rather see this grouping head over here to replace the Sentra line.

  12. Renault Encore…. Are you really that stuck in the past??? The Encore was sold here in the mid eighties!
    And yes, they were crap.

    But I don’t think anyone should really judge what they make now from the Encore from over 20 years ago.

    That’s like comparing an Amiga computer with a new iMac.

  13. Vince, I’ve owned 2 cars in the last 16 years. 1993 Plymouth Sundance that went 107K, and my current 2000 Chevy Malibu, with 119K. They both went the distance for me. The Encore was my first “modern” car, after my ’78 $600 Camaro that i should have never bought…but even that car was better then the Encore.

    I guess I just want to hear your personal story with Renault, and why you love them so. Just because Nissan is partnered with them, doesn’t mean I want to buy one.

  14. The ultimate high-performance car! It has very nice features. High power, it is my dreamed car.

  15. Renault’s products in Europe are excellent, and reliable. I’ve rented the Scenic model on several occasions – would buy it in a heartbeat. It’s true that they have a dealer network here (Nissan), however they sell Nissans and Renaults through seperate networks in Europe just fine. The cars may share parts/engineering, but they are dictinct. I don’t see any issue with having several car lines, as long as each model is unique. Chrysler’s trouble is not that it has overlap with Dodge and Chrysler (a 300C is sufficiently different from a Charger) – the problem is with the cars themselves – especially the small and mid-size ones. Where multiple lines makes no sense is when you simply slap a different badge on and call a Chevy Cobalt a Pontiac G-5. As long as there is enough of a distinction – it makes sense. A Buick Enclave is simply a fancy Chevy Traverse – but it’s styling and trim make it different enough to work. The GMC Acadia is, I suppose a “truckier” version – so to a lesser extent it works too, I suppose. The Saturn Outlook made no sense if you’re also going to sell a Chevy Traverse. They look a little different, but it’s the same market – same pricepoint. I think Renault could work well here, offering those of us who really like and appreciate European cars – an affordable alternative to Volkswagen. I think the problem with the Astra was 1) GM didn’t market it at all – anyone here ever see an Astra magazine ad or commercial? The ONLY people who knew about it were Saturn fans, and car nuts. 2) It was only offered with one engine choice – a middle of the road engine that didn’t get great mileage, nor was it particularly fast. In Europe, there are many engine choices, including diesels to suit each market. 3) It was introduced towards the end of it’s lifespan, so it never appeared “all new”. My hope is that Renault buys the Saturn franchise, and brings a good portion of their range over hear and sells them as either as Renaults or Saturns. They should maintain Saturn’s reputation for excellent dealer service/experience (the best thing about Saturn). If they take off, then they could possibly look into building the cars in the US.

  16. Jeff,

    The Renault Encore was years ahead of everybody else. It was one of the first cars sold in the US with a pressurized cooling system. It had electronic fuel injection years before any Honda.

    AMC techs didn’t know what hit them. If you didn’t find a mechanic who had a clue, you were out of luck.

    These Renaults will use Nissan-style power trains, so they will be familiar territory for most techs.

  17. I’ve wanted Renault’s return for 18 years (with the cars they sell in Europe…plus and Alpine!)

    I’d rather see PSA buy Saturn so we can get Peugeot and Citroen back in this market.

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