In the mid-1990's Renault was not a familiar brand name to the average South African. The older generation had some recall of the Renault 5 of the Seventies and, if they were motor sport enthusiasts, they may have been able to make the connection with the all-conquering Renault V10 Formula 1 engine then powering Michael Schumacher to victory after victory on the world's racing circuits.
Since 2006 and into 2007 it is a very different story - the Renault brand has once again established itself as a leading contender at the southern tip of Africa. The trendsetting Renault Scenic MPV, the uniquely styled Renault Megane and the cheeky little Clio have become very familiar sights on our roads, while the sprightly and versatile Renault Kangoo LCV has made significant inroads in the commercial sector of the market. Renault has proven its presence in the South African Motor Industry by its phenomenal growth and quality improvements.
Returning to the South African market in 1996 via the "blue chip" Imperial Holdings' Imperial Car Imports division (ICI), the Renault marque found quick acceptance amongst local vehicle buyers and initial sales targets were met well within set time frames. Indeed, within a few years Renault had once again become a force to be reckoned with in the South African market.
The Renault reputation for quality of product, superior driving experience and quality of service has also made Renault a sought-after franchise. While adhering strictly to its policy of never allowing growth to outstrip its ability to provide the required high standards of Renault after-sales service, Renault has grown its dealer representation from the original seven in 1996 to 56 serving all the main centres in the country. An industry survey naming Renault as amongst the best service providers bears proof of the high standards maintained.
The Renault model range covers a large sector of the market with the Renault Clio, New Clio 3, Megane Sedan, Megane Shake it!, Megane Sport, Laguna, Scenic and Espace passenger ranges and the Renault Kangoo and Traffic in the commercial sector. New model launches to the local market now follow shortly on the heels of their European launches and South Africans can look forward to seeing a number of brand new Renaults being brought to market every year as part of the Renault Commitment 2009. Renault has become a world leader in vehicle safety. The stringent Euro NCAP crash testing programme has awarded maximum marks to a number of Renault models and so endorsing them as among the safest vehicles available in the world. (8 vehicles have already received the top 5 stars NCap rating)
The quality and the stature of Renault products brought to the local market are amply illustrated by the fact that the prestigious Car of the Year competition annually staged by the South African Guild of Motoring Journalist, in 2000 named the Clio as the winner of the competition.