NEWS ANALYSIS: Renault Trucks weighs into the electric market

Date: Friday, February 7, 2020   |   Author: Steve Banner

Renault Trucks Master Red EDITION  Optitipper

Power for the tipping gear will come from separate lithium-ion batteries

(Continued from page 1) Eager to keep carving itself a slice of the light commercial market, Renault Trucks has begun marketing a version of the latest Master under the Red Edition banner. It gets its own livery plus standard features such as air-conditioning, side-wind assist intended to prevent you from being blown into an adjacent lane in a motorway crosswind, and cruise control with a speed limiter.

Marketed in van, chassis cab and platform cab guise, the newcomer is offered with three option packs: Comfort, Safety and Delivery. Features include autonomous emergency braking in the Safety pack and 270° rear door opening in the Delivery pack.

“We should sell at least 1,800 to 1,900 Masters in 2020 with the automatic accounting for approximately 9% of registrations,” predicts Neagus. The company sold 1,872 in 2018 and at the time of writing looked set to sell around 1,600 in 2019, a changeover year for the Master.

A whopping 92% will be front-wheel drive. The vast majority of Masters the company sells are 3.5-tonners, with 4.5-tonners accounting for 25 to 40 registrations annually, and the intriguing, specially converted 6.0t six-wheeler responsible for upwards of 100. It can handle a 3.0t payload, Neagus points out – usefully more than some of the more heavily-engineered 7.5-tonners available can deliver. “Furthermore, I know of one operator who is achieving 29mpg with it compared with the 16mpg he’s getting from the 7.5-tonners he also runs,” he says.

“We should sell 100-plus Master Z.E. models in 2020 compared with a projected 40-odd [last year],” he adds. Availability is not an issue, he stresses – there is no shortage of batteries – with a lead time of around 14 weeks.

Why buy a Master from a Renault Trucks dealer rather than a Renault car and van dealer?  

Renault Trucks dealer workshops – there are a total of 68 of them across the network – regularly open 24 hours, seven days a week to meet the needs of truck operators, Neagus points out. This means that light commercial owners can get their vehicles serviced overnight too.

“We view the Master as a small truck rather than a big van,” he remarks.

He goes on to highlight the quality of advice his company’s outlets can provide if a customer requires specialist, non-standard bodywork. “Over 90% of the Masters we sell feature conversions of some kind and 72% are based on platform or chassis cabs,” he says.

There are no plans for Renault Trucks to start marketing the Renault Trafic alongside the Master. It offers less scope for conversions, Neagus points out, and would mean that he and his colleagues would end up scrapping for sales on price in competition with models such as Ford’s Transit Custom, Volkswagen’s Transporter and Peugeot’s Expert.

“We’d be diluting our efforts in the light commercial market,” he says, and that’s something he has no wish to do.


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