Automotive News reports that Renault are going to replace the Laguna and Latitude with a single model. Fine. But they said something we have heard so many times before.
“Renault says the Laguna/Latitude replacement will have a more emotional styling.” The bulk of AN’s report details the statistics of the C-D segment. In brief: fewer sold than ever, Renault selling fewer again, losses. What the article doesn’t address is that the last Laguna lost customers due to its reliability problems and the current car did not get those customers back because it simply wasn’t special enough. Special doesn’t mean emotional.
As I never tire of repeating, Patrick Pelota, then head of Renault marketing (I think) insisted the new Laguna was going to be a classy car. And the styling was supposed to more beautiful than the previous car. It wasn’t. It was, if anything, weirder. But neither of the last two Lagunas were rational bits of contemporary styling in the manner of the very successful Laguna 1. What I think Renault needs to do is find experts in bolts, fasteners, clips and adhesives.
And it also needs to find designers who can find ways to hammer home the impression of quality. They can guide the designers who are better at shapes and colours. The Passat and the Audi A4 who are tremendously successful offerings in this class (what people buy and what people want to buy respectively) are not emotional cars at all. They aren’t even that well made but look very well made. Renault has to talk the talk.