Renault Trucks expects EV growth in 2020

Renault Trucks electric prospects

Renault sees a big future for its full electric range which includes the Master ZE and Range D trucks up to 26 tonnes. It predicts that by 2025 10% of Renault’s overall sales will be full electric but expects the UK to outperform this percentage. Its electric range is opening doors to new customers wanting to go electric such as parcels giant DPD about “root and branch” changes to distribution models to fully exploit electric vehicles.

But like most other OEMs, the company believes there is plenty of mileage to be had improving the fuel efficiency of diesel engines. A Step D T480 demo has delivered a 10% fuel saving over the previous version for one customer and the company said diesel will be its “core product for the next 20 or 30 years”.

Used truck sales also had a good year with 1,200 units returning from the first owner being sold either direct, through the dealers or for export. One in three of used sales were to customers who had never bought Renault before and Leech said most were upgrading rather than expanding their fleets to enable them to operate within clean air zones. Renault offers an official kit to lower the emissions standard of used vehicles and so make them suitable for export to countries with lower fuel quality.

Although truck sales in the second half of 2019 have been significantly lower than the first half, Renault Trucks expects this year to finish on 47,000 units, 9% ahead of 2018. Speaking to journalists last week, commercial director James Charnock said Brexit had “distorted” the UK market, with two large pre-buys in the first half of 2019, but November sales were 14% up year on year.

Renault expects the market in 2020 to be smaller though Charnock said next year would also “be influenced by politics”, as the next UK government continues to wrestle with Brexit.

Renault’s new management team led by MD Carlos Rodrigues has been in place for just over a year and he said it had been a good 12-months. Renault is outperforming the market, with sales up 18% year on year last month and it will finish the year with a “slight increase” in market share.

“Of the seven major truck brands, three have increased share this year and we are one of those three,” said Charnock. “There is increasing confidence in our products and excellent back up from our dealers.”

Renault has had success targeting specific market sectors including municipal this year and has grown its customer base. “Our growth is a result of us talking to more customers,” said Charnock. “We have made several conquests this year and when we get a new customer we are very good at keeping them. We still have to tackle the [legacy] Renault brand image though.”

While the Range T tractor unit has been well received in the market, inconsistent dealer support across the UK has long been Renault’s Achilles’ heel and Renault is tackling the problem by ranking all dealerships on a number of key performance indicators (KPIs) to highlight the weak performers.

“This has been a real success for customers because we now have a consistent level of service across the business,” said aftersales director Derek Leech. “It has surpassed our expectations and we have seen a 300% increase [in performance] in some dealers.”

Perkins Distribution goes for Renault's Range T tractors

Perkins Distribution's Range Ts

Wednesbury-based Perkins Distribution has added six new Renault Range T460 6x2 tractors to its 25-vehicle fleet.
Supplied by Renault Truck Commercials’ Tipton dealership, the new Renaults have been specified with a convertible upper bunk, multimedia screen and refrigerator.
Perkins’ transport manager, Antonio Esposito, said the new trucks had gone down well: “Our drivers are happy with the vehicles’ safety, efficiency and comfort, as well as the all-important service back-up. They rack up a lot of miles, so the comfort seats are ideal, and they like the way the vehicles drive, commenting they are particularly smooth and comfortable for a commercial vehicle.”
Esposito explained that when the firm started its relationship with the manufacturer via the Premium, “Renault Trucks has been extremely supportive of Perkins, and since the introduction of the Range T in 2014 we haven’t looked back; they remain at the forefront of our vehicle supply”.
The Range Ts were also chosen because Perkins’ nearest Renault Trucks dealer “was less than a mile away from our base and it ticked all the boxes and more”.
The T460s have been supplied with Renault’s five year Start & Excellence Contract, which is the marque’s most extensive repair and maintenance contract.
“Having our vehicles on the Excellence Package means that we have total peace of mind that they are being maintained with genuine Renault parts. But also, we feel assured that there will be no surprises when it comes to repair costs,” said Esposito.
Perkins is set to take delivery of eight more Range Ts by 2020 due to it being, as Esposito stated, “so impressed by the overall package”.