Renault expects Arkana’s coupe styling will stand out in crossover market

August 29, 2018 09:01 CET

MOSCOW — Renault said its coupe-styled Arkana crossover would appeal to Russian tastes for distinctive SUVs.

The automaker unveiled a near-production version of the compact model crossover at the auto show here Wednesday ahead of its sales launch in Russia in the first half of next year.

The Arkana will also be sold in China, Latin America and Korea.

It’s based on a heavily revised version of the B0 platform that underpins the Russian-market Renault Kaptur small SUV as well as the Dacia/Renault Duster. The new platform will be called B0+.

Renault hinted that the car might also be built on a more sophisticated platform for European markets under its dual-platform strategy. The first car developed under the strategy was the Russian-market Kaptur compact SUV, which is identical visually to the Captur sold in Europe but sits on the cheaper platform to be more cost-effective.

The Arkana has a high waistline and sloping coupe roofline, emphasized by side chrome detailing.

The Arkana will give Renault its fifth SUV or crossover in the Russian market, after the Koleos midsize model, the Kaptur, the Duster and the crossover-styled Sandero Stepway compact car.

The Arkana’s coupe body shape differentiates it from the increasing number of competitors in the hot-selling compact SUV category.

Renault is one of the first mass-market automakers to explore a more coupe look that was introduced by BMW with the X6. Skoda will just beat Renault in offering the first mainstream SUV-coupe with the China-market Kodiaq GT, which is set for launch later this year.

Renault’s head of design, Laurens van den Acker, described the Arkana as a “distinctive coupe-crossover, striking balance between the elegance of a sedan and the powerful stance of an SUV.”

He said the Arkana shows the direction the Renault brand wants to take “in terms of design from now on.”

The Arkana is designed for Russia’s tough roads with high ground clearance, wide wheel arches and19-inch wheels.

The Arkana name is derived from the Latin word arcanum, for secret or mystery.

Renault said its Russian design team significantly contributed to the look of the Arkana and Russian customers were uppermost in the mind of the designers. “The idea for this innovative concept came from Russia and the project was conducted with the strong involvement of Renault Russia teams,” Nicolas Maure, head of Renault group’s Eurasia region, said in a statement.

Renault was the No. 4 selling brand in Russia through July with 81,362 units sold, up 13 percent. Car demand in Russia returned to growth in 2017 after four years of declines, reaching 1.6 million units. Once predicted to surpass Germany’s roughly 4 million in annual registrations, sales collapsed during the ruble crisis and have struggled to gain traction amid economic sanctions. Renault and its Russian unit AvtoVAZ, which makes the Lada, are the nation’s top-selling automaker by group.

Renault said the Arkana would play a “key role” in helping the Renault Group, including Renault brand, Dacia and Alpine, to increase its global vehicle sales to 5 million vehicles by 2022. Last year the group sold 3.76 million vehicles. Pole position in a rising Russian market would help the French automaker offset an also-ran ranking in China, the world’s biggest buyer of passenger vehicles.

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

Bloomberg contributed to this report

You can reach Nick Gibbs at ngibbs@crain.com.

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