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Automotive Intelligence News

News of  March 13, 2002
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With a new design and new engines, Thalia comes with strong arguments to ensure long-term success

Thalia

Photo: Renault

Paris - Thalia - the Clio saloon - has achieved wide-reaching commercial success, with over 125,000 units produced since its introduction in late 1999.

Renault is to launch a new phase in the model from March 2002 to build on Thalia's success. Sporting a novel exterior design reminiscent of New Clio, which went on sale in June 2001, Thalia now comes with a host of safety and comfort features and a broader range of engines with the 107bhp 1.6 16V and the recently introduced 65bhp 1.5 dCi common-rail diesel engine.

New Thalia will be distributed in Central and Eastern Europe, French overseas departments, Greece, Russia, Turkey, Maghreb, Gulf states and South and Central America. Remarkable sales breakthrough With over 125,000 units manufactured since its introduction at the end of 1999, Thalia has quickly established itself as Renault's conquest model in growing international markets. In regions as diverse as Turkey, Central and Eastern Europe, French overseas departments, Greece, Russia, Turkey, Maghreb, Gulf states and South and Central America.

Remarkable sales breakthrough

With over 125,000 units manufactured since its introduction at the end of 1999, Thalia has quickly established itself as Renault's conquest model in growing international markets. In regions as diverse as Turkey, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Maghreb, Thalia has proven a major commercial success and posted better-than-expected sales performance.

Thalia sales worldwide have almost doubled in one year, increasing from 37,650 cars sold in 2000, to almost 73,000 in 2001. Turkey remained Thalia's largest market, despite a market fall of 70% in 2001. With almost 41,000 sales achieved since launch at the end of 1999, it was the second best-selling vehicle of any make in the country in 2001, behind Mégane.

In Central Europe, almost 22,700 units of Thalia were sold during 2001, taking a 2.6% share of the passenger car market compared with an initial target of 1.3%. This sales performance boosted Renault's ranking from fifth place to third in the brand league tables. In its first year on the market, Thalia was the best-selling Renault model in Hungary and Slovakia, accounting for 39.1% and 54.9% of the company's sales in 2001, respectively.

In Latin America, 27,500 units of Thalia were sold in 2001. It took second place among Renault vehicles in Venezuela (2,891 units sold) and Colombia (2,680 units), and third place in Brazil (16,100 units) and Argentina (4,882 units).

In 2001, Thalia was also the best-selling Renault in Russia (3,357 units sold, representing 60.7% of the company's sales), Ukraine (502 units, 52.1%), Algeria (3,345 units, 32.8%) and Egypt (815 units, 65.4%). Renault aims to follow up on this introduction, maintaining or improving Thalia's market share in its various markets.

The new benchmark in the sub-C segment

Positioned in the sub-C segment, Thalia is targeted mainly at family customers, with one or two children and only one car, seeking status through owning a new car meeting modern standards, yet providing value for money.

The sub-C segment, which exists only in developing car markets, is made up of "three-box" cars for family use, often of elderly design and affordably priced. Notable among such models are the Skoda Fabia saloon, Opel Astra classic, Seat Cordoba, Fiat Siena, Daewoo Lanos saloon, Hyundai Accent saloon and Suzuki Swift saloon.

Thalia offers customers the best in quality and safety standards. Oyak-Renault, at the heart of Renault's industrial strategy Renault's factory at Bursa in Turkey, the only production source for the Mégane estate car in the world, was also the pilot site for the industrial launch of Thalia, now exported to 35 countries.

With an annual production capacity of 160,000 vehicles in two-shift working, the Bursa factory is one of Renault's biggest industrial facilities outside Western Europe. The plant employs some 3,800 people and meets Renault's European quality and competitiveness standards and has the same work organization. It plays a strategic role in Renault's international development. Despite the extremely depressed local economic situation in 2001, Oyak-Renault was able to find new international outlets to maintain a high level of activity, thanks notably to Thalia. The car's popularity in Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East partly offset the fall in the domestic market.

In 2001, Oyak-Renault built 98,971 vehicles, compared with 139,501 in 2000, of which 43,037 were Thalias at a rate of 240 vehicles per day. The start-up of New Thalia production in February should allow the factory to contemplate the coming months without worry. For Turkey, the total cost of the Thalia programme was E112 million, of which E15 million was for New Thalia. This cost includes E85 million in investments in the factory and among the suppliers, and E27 million for engineering and production start-up costs.

Apart from Turkey, Thalia is assembled in three factories in South America: the Curitiba factory in Brazil (where Thalia entered production in February 2000), the Medellin factory in Colombia (November 2000), and the Cordoba factory in Argentina (February 2001). Renault also plans to assemble Thalia in Russia, as soon as local customs policies allow.

Greater driving pleasure and comfort

The benchmark in its segment for its optimum trade-off between ride comfort and handling as well as the liveliness of its petrol engines, New Thalia is now powered by the new 65bhp 1.5 dCi turbodiesel engine with direct injection and common rail fuel system. The petrol engine range is widened with the arrival of the recent 107bhp 1.6 16V, which rounds out the range of latest-generation 16-valve units: 75bhp 1.2 16V and 98bhp 1.4 16V.

(March 7, 2002) 

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