Invented by Renault in 1996 with its first ScÚnic, the niche compact minivans should start in the two next years... but not make for to match its absolute record of 2007. That year, it is sold in Europe nearly 1.5 million of these vehicles, very appreciated by the families for their practical and versatile, side with affordable price ranges. Since, under the dual impact of the shortage of new supply and the economic crisis, purchases have fallen to 1.2 million last year, and should cap at only 800,000 units this year. Is less than 5 of total sales on the European market, compared to 8 in the beautiful years. The France remains despite all the first market for these vehicles habitable but not too large.
But activity should not fall below, according to the major manufacturers. "In 2008, there was no renewal in compact minivans, while as of 2009, there will be an abundance of offers", said Bruno Ancelin, Director of the ranges of medium-sized cars in Renault. First to go, the constructor at the diamond markets from April 23, the third generation of the ScÚnic: first in extended version (5 or 7 seat choice) for families, and in shortened version a few weeks later, such as CitroŰn, to seduce essentially seniors without children. Follow in the wake of many renewals of existing models, such as the Toyota Verso, Ford C - Max, VW Touran. And then a real novelty in the fall, the first compact MPV signed Peugeot, cousin of "cross-"
"over" 3008 launched these days. A competitor for the CitroŰn Picasso.
What wake up the market. "On custody in general longer a compact minivan as a conventional sedan." Customers are waiting for developments, explains Marc Hedrich, product manager and marketing at Toyota Europe. But the years 2007-2008 have been clearly poor launches. "Evidence, the average age of the five minivans sold in Europe, which culminated last year to four years in average, against a year only in 2005. At the time, this segment declined faster these quarters the total market, adds the Japanese giant.
Is it to say that it will achieve new records Probably not. First, because "the European automotive market has changed," concedes Toyota, which certainly sees a rebound in compact minivans, but not before 2011. In Europe, "SUV (recreational vehicles) will take something from this total, the levels it has known two or three years ago will not be," adds Bruno Ancelin of Renault. Carlos Ghosn group refuses to disclose sales for the new ScÚnic range forecasts. Only objective announced: "Resume the leadership of the segment", the CitroŰn C4 Picasso he stole recently, after more than ten years of domination without sharing. Aware of the difficult conditions, Renault sought to moderate his industrial entry ticket by limiting as much as possible its investments in the Douai plant. In addition, 40 of the parts of the model to be entirely new are borrowed to other vehicles, such as the Megane, the previous ScÚnic and even the small Clio sedan.
Playing before all caution and conservatism, Renault aims in priority the loyalty of existing customers, and not the conquest in the followers of other brands, arguing its vast park in circulation. Suddenly, the ScÚnic 3 lines are much less new than those of the two previous versions. Main argument: the close price of those of the outgoing model (of 20.400 to 32.900 Grand ScÚnic 3 euros and 500 euros less for shorter variant to remain majority).
Toyota also, caution is required. The number one global table for the third generation of the back on sales European of 50,000 to 60,000 units per year (including 9.500(2) in France), from the record years of back 2 who reached best 100,000, including 15,000 in France.