Bruno Morange, senior vice president, Renault Commercial Vehicles
How hard has the credit crunch hit van sales across Europe?
It’s had a big psychological impact and everybody is waiting to see what will happen next. We’re seeing an average 20 per cent fall in sales across the industry during the second half of this year compared with the first half of 2007 and I believe we’ll see demand drop by from eight to 10 per cent next year.
Has the downturn resulted in reduced delivery times?
That’s clear, although it’s not usually practical to reduce lead times to less than six weeks if a van is being ordered from the factory to customer specifications. With car-derived vans the situation is a little easier. We may be able to supply from stock, so lead times are very short. But although the delivery situation may be good news for customers, the downturn means falling production and that in turn means that factories may have to be closed for several days during the coming months. That’s already happening in Luton, where Trafic is built, and I think all manufacturers will be affected.
You’ve just launched Kangoo Van and Kangoo Compact in the UK, but they’ve been on sale on the other side of the Channel for several months. How successful are they proving to be?
They’ve been well-received although some concern has been expressed by dealers that Compact is not available with a sliding side door. We would argue, however that it’s not necessary because the load area is completely accessible from the rear.
What are you doing so far as alternative power sources are concerned?
We’ll be introducing an electric Kangoo in 2010/2011. We’re also working on hybrids in conjunction with Nissan although we won’t see the results until 2012. We have a greater belief in pure electrics than we do in hybrids though because the latter require two engines and that makes them a high cost solution.
How soon before we see a new Master?
It will be at the 2009 Amsterdam commercial vehicle show.