Advance apologies to the Délégation générale à la langue française et aux langues de France and their eagle-eyed cohorts regarding the title header.
Earlier in the year I spoke at some length about Renault’s Mégane Grand Coupé offering, a car which is not only unavailable in drear old Blighty, but also (somewhat surprisingly) within Renault’s homeland. Introduced to the Irish market earlier this year, the Mégane sedan (sorry, but it’s neither grand nor a coupe) appears to have taken off here, with my highly unscientific visual survey suggesting that it comfortably outsells the hatchback version.
Which is altogether rather good going, given that c-segment saloons have been taking a hit in Ireland owing to the inexorable rise of the compact crossover. Its progress has been aided by its appearance, which lighting treatments aside, is mature, well proportioned and undeniably handsome. It’s quite a sizeable car in the flesh too. Certainly, from appearances, one would find it difficult to justify the larger Talisman model, were such a vehicle made available.
But not only is the Mégane doing well, Renault itself is on something of a roll in the Irish Republic, with car sales in the year to September that are within touching distance of matching those for the entire year in 2016. So far during 2017, Renault holds 7th position in the Republic with a market share of 6.4%, up from 5.7% at the end of last year. To put that into perspective, Skoda are only marginally ahead over the same time period at 6.8%, but Renault have comfortably outsold Opel and Peugeot, with the German marque on 4.9% in 8th place and the Lion of Belfort at a paltry 2.9%, well down in 12th place.
These are impressive figures in a market which has virtually stalled in the second half of the year in the wake of Sterling’s dramatic fall in value against the Euro. Renault have made significant inroads in the Irish market over the past five years or so, aided by a revitalised range of cars and it’s believed, one of the most aggressive incentive packages within the ROI industry. Clios, Capturs and Méganes massively outsell their French industry rivals here and have lately been giving the market leaders something to think about as well. Even in light commercials, Renault command 13.4% of the Irish market.
The Mégane saloon on these pages, sporting a Co. Offaly registration number and photographed one overcast afternoon in the West Cork coastal town of Kinsale, was notable for its unusual rich mocha hue, which in the diffused afternoon light both highlighted and obscured the car’s lines. Recent familiarity has not softened the chintzy lighting arrangements, nor minimised the plethora of character lines and decorative flourishes, but overall, it’s a dignified enough looking device.
The Irish car buying public’s affair with the three-volume c-segment saloon isn’t quite sated then, despite there being a third party in the bedroom of late. So while crossovers might be bagging more of the duvet, I wouldn’t necessarily write off the saloon just yet. Not this one at least.