Kia shows the challenge Renault has ahead

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Renault-Clio-4The Renault fightback is underway with the able, standout new Clio 4 and perfectly timed new Captur leading the product charge.

SMMT new car registrations data for July 2013 paint a stark picture, though: market share in Britain is down to 1.43 per cent, far behind the 4-5 per cent the brand should, theoretically, rightfully command.

Kia shows the challenge it has ahead.

In the UK, Kia had a record month in July, registering 6027 cars. The car it registered in greatest numbers was the Sportage, whose list prices start at £17,495. Overall, Kia reached a July market share of 3.72 per cent.

More than twice what Renault has.

So, 3708 sales ahead of Renault with, far from what some still assume about Kia (given the brand’s rapid Picanto-led ride during the 2009-2010 scrappage days), sales actually being led by one of the most expensive (and profitable) cars it sells, rather than the cheapest. The cee’d was second; the entry-level Picanto is now third.

A pretty strong position, you’d have to agree.

Kia-Sportage

To recover, and regain its position alongside the fast-growing Korean challenger, Renault needs to respond. To do so, it desperately needs new cars: a new Megane, a new Scenic, a compact crossover, maybe a larger crossover to take up where the discontinued Laguna left off. Goodness, even a large seven-seat crossover MPV creation to reinvent the sector it invented with the Espace?

New cars are coming, Renault’s brilliant senior vice president for global marketing and communications, Stephen Norman, assures me. One step at a time. The steps it’s taken at the moment – Clio, Captur, Zoe – should inspire confidence: more of this is to be expected.

But they can’t come soon enough, as the charge of Kia proves.

Still, there is clear reason to be confident. Remember, Kia’s recent success, and ability to move from being known for city cars to shifting more £20k-plus crossovers than any other car, is design-led. Peter Schreyer is the man that’s made Kia what it is.

Renault has Laurens van den Acker. Clio and Captur prove he can do it. How quickly can he work to restore Renault’s market share to where most observers think it rightfully should be?

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