Renault Offer Hope

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The ‘Lockdown’ has hit the motor industry very hard. Today at an online press conference Renault Ireland announced some interesting sales incentives as it sees some green shoots slowly rising as manufacturing gradually resumes. Ireland boss Paddy Magee said his team are working hard to make sure Renault’s business model and dealer network can remain viable, while also encouraging sales of new and used cars and light commercial vehicles.

Cast your mind back to 2009 – it was a horror show for the motor industry in terms of sales as the economic downfall hit buyers and industry hard. Magee says ‘Ireland has never recovered fully from that downturn in the motor industry’. The first priority has been try to protect its network and cash-flow that is a problem (for all businesses starting back up). Magee: ‘We don’t know what will happen in May but it will be significantly down’. All the stats show the previous months are a virtual write-off with lock down.

Magee: ‘The next 12-15 months will be critical’ and to this end Renault has deployed guidelines to its network and is doing all its can to get its showrooms and dealership ready for social distancing and the all important act of car selling. Spacious dealer showrooms are quite well prepared for the needs of social distancing as they tend to have more room than most other forms of retail outlet. New solo/autonomous test drives will be introduced as part of the ‘new customer journey’ as will video brochures of vehicles – it’s all being prepared for. Magee says ‘Everything has too be customer led’. Renault Ireland has issued clear dealership opening guidelines on “Getting back to business”. These are mandatory to protect staff and customers and include revised rotas for staff, a limit on customer numbers in the dealership at any one time, drop and go key process and unaccompanied test drives – to name a few.

Noble Effort: Early on Renault Ireland did a lot to support the fight against COVID-19 and place cars in the hands of returning medics in need of transport. This was done in partnership with AXA insurance. Magee says they have received 235 applicants and the scheme is now fully subscribed and credits Renault’s Liz O’ Gorman for driving it forward.

Sales Encouragement: Some of the sales incentives include a buy now pay later scheme. The ‘3+2+1’ Renault offer has 3 months deferred payments, 2.02% APR and the 1 is €1,000 cash-back to the customer. Renault, who has its own bank, says this scheme represents a saving to the customer over high street banks of €2,500.

Van/LCV drivers will also get a break from Renault to help them get back on their feet with three months deferred payments and a favourable rate of finance.

Renault’s budget brand Dacia will continue to offer its ‘Shockingly affordable’ range and will have a similar three month deferral payment plan and an APR rate of 4.9%.

Used Renaults under the ‘Renault Selection’ banner will also benefit from the three month deferred payment, 3% APR over three years and other perks.

Magee stresses its ‘payment deferral’ is a genuine one with no penalties worked in to payments later on. Magee added the motor industry is no different from any other and he understands what people are going through financially. Those (businesses) who have come through ‘2009’ are well placed to contribute to the recovery and Magee suggest the Irish government (when it is formed) and the industry need to sit down and take a strong look at a VRT reduction. The VRT tax take on a new car is €5,500 and should be reduced. Renault is calling for a short term VRT reduction to help the industry and acknowledges some businesses in the wider industry will have to close. Ireland has a carpark with an average age over 9 years old. Magee says ‘not everyone can afford a new vehicle and in order to reduce the age we must reduce the age of the carpark to reduce CO2’.

Magee: ‘If VRT was reduced by €3,000 for a short term period of July and August this would give a real shot in the arm to the industry but an increase in sales would actually increase the governments tax take also’.

See the table: PC passenger car, PU per unit, VRT Vehicle registration tax,

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About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael is Motorhub's Editor. Well known from TV and radio, Michael has been writing, presenting and judging cars since the mid 90's. He is a renowned Producer/Director and documentary film maker. Dozens of credits include: The Whole Way Round (Gay Byrne), The Shamrock Run (Alan Shortt), The Viking Run (Clodagh McKenna) and The Irish 66ers (David Mitchell) and The Climb for Kids (Colin Farrell). Print credits include: the RTE Guide (motoring editor 1999-2003), many national daily papers and Sundays including The Irish Times (freelance) plus other magazines. National radio credits include multiple at RTE Gerry Ryan show, the Mooney Show, The Dave Fanning Show, Drivetime etc. TV credits as a motoring expert include RTE's flagship current affairs show Primetime and TV3's Ireland AM. Michael also presented RTE's car show Drive! in the late 90s and directed some items in MPH2 on TG4. Michael contributes weekly on motoring issues to The Last Word show with Matt Cooper on Today FM. Michael has represented Ireland's motoring journalists in Motorsport at the International Mazda MX-5 endurance race series in Italy and the Arctic Ice Race. He has been a Car of the Year Judge for 20 years, more recently a judge for Van of the Year. Michael is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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