Don’t expect to see a Renault Captur RS anytime soon

Despite the growing popularity of SUVs all over the world, Renault has decided not to proceed with plans to develop high-performance, RS-badged versions of the Captur and Kadjar SUVs. Speaking with Motoring, a senior source who works closely with RenaultSport said that those plans have been put to bed in large part because an RS SUV flies against the very identity that has given rise to the automaker’s hot hatchback performance line and the inherent risks that come with it.

Apparently, there’s growing belief within Renault that a performance SUV could damage RenaultSport’s brand integrity, especially if there ends up being little demand for it. It’s a sound explanation that puts the focus on the reality of the industry that not every automaker can build a crossover or an SUV and expect it to do well just because the overall markets for these models continue to grow.

Certain aspects about the automotive supply-and-demand chain have to be addressed before signing off on these models and apparently for Renault, the cons of building RS-badged SUVs far outweighed the pros of building them. The company’s new stance is an about-face from its previous position in 2015 when there were serious considerations of adding an SUV to an RS family that only includes the Clio and Megane hot hatches. The Captur was initially thought to be the likeliest model to get an RS version in part because of its close ties to the Clio. Prototype models of the Capture RS were even reportedly built for “assessment purposes.”

Now those plans have been put on ice and the expectation is that they’re unlikely to be brought back to the table in the near future.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

If there’s no business case, there’s no point

On paper, an RS version of the Renault Captur looks like an intriguing proposition. At the very least, it’s interesting. But therein also lies some deep-rooted issues that companies like Renault have to deal with it compared to bigger brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi. Unlike those three companies, Renault is in a position where it has to really make a good business case for a specific model before it proceeds with its development. It doesn’t have the finances or the backing that other companies have that allows them to be “adventurous” with some of their models.

Renault doesn’t have that luxury so it can only develop models that it feels comfortable in. Unfortunately, an RS version of the Captur ended up being a model that Renault isn’t comfortable with so the decision was made to cancel those plans. It’s hard to blame the company for doing that, but that decision also has repercussions on the automaker’s goal to grown RenaultSport and double its sales by 2019 from the 40,000 units it sold in 2014. Now that an SUV isn’t going to be part of those plans, the company will be forced to hang its hat on both the Clio RS, the Megane RS, and the plethora of GT and GT-Line models it has to help get RenaultSport to where it needs to go.

It’s a big challenge, but according to the company’s European chairman Jean-Christophe Kugler, steps are already being taken to expand the RenaultSport line in new and important markets, including China and India. It’s unclear if the company will revisit an RS SUV should it reaches its sales goal in three years. Successfully doubling its sales volume could be the boost in confidence it needs to finally make that leap. Just don’t expect it to happen until then.

Read our full review on the Renault Captur here.

Source: Motoring Australia

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