Senior executives of Dongfeng Renault Automotive Co and guests attend the launch ceremony of the all-new Koleos. (Photo/China Daily)
A significant expansion in the Chinese market is likely next year for Dongfeng Renault Automotive Co as a result of strengthened brand appeal and growth of its dealership networks.
The Sino-French joint venture aims to enlarge its dealership network to 200 locations by the end of 2017, with 40 Renault cars delivered to customers by each shop each month.
The carmaker's monthly delivery climbed to 5,294 vehicles in November, 21.5 percent more than the previous month. Its wholesale volume jumped 30.8 percent to 5,944 vehicles, according to the company's data.
"We are showing our sincerity to our customers with our value-for-money products, our consistent quality and incomparably high configuration in the segment," Francois Provost, senior vice-president of Renault Group and CEO of Dongfeng Renault, said in an interview with China Daily in Beijing on Wednesday.
The Hubei-based carmaker's first locally-manufactured model, the compact SUV Kadjar, has already outperformed its peers in the world's largest market.
The company's recently rejuvenated mid-size SUV, the all-new Koleos, also received a positive reception.
Dongfeng Renault set the Kadjar's monthly sales target at 3,000 vehicles. October saw its sales soar to 4,000 and the orders remained a high 3,921 in November.
The all-new Koleos was launched in the market on Nov 10. In the short time since then, Dongfeng Renault has delivered 2,878 vehicles through wholesale channels, receiving a total of 4,512 orders by the end of November.
The company is confident in the all-new Koleos, as it not only demonstrates the French brand's high quality, but also its customizability for Chinese buyers' demands. The automaker believes the model's size and design perfectly match market tastes, especially its roomy interior, which is peerless in the segment and intended to fit customer needs.
"The all-new Koleos is the brand's flagship SUV and is offered in more than 80 markets. But, we see the Chinese market as the top priority," Provost continued.
He told the reporter that, to further execute the "in China, for China, and from China" plan, the local research and development team will be expanded to include as many as 300 employees.
Dongfeng Renault understands that Chinese customers have distinct demands, and their preferences were fully considered throughout the entire research and development process, according to Provost.
Provost noted that, "Next year, Dongfeng Renault will focus on making more and more Chinese people recognize the French brand as a leading player in the European market."
Chinese actress Fan Bingbing enhanced the Renault Kadjar's brand awareness among the Chinese population by becoming Dongfeng Renault Kadjar's image ambassador in November 2015.
Fan attended the carmaker's event at the 14th China (Guangzhou) International Automobile Exhibition in November.
At the event, Fan said Dongfeng Renault inherited the French brand essence and demonstrated its power.
The automaker found that the all-new Koleos' launch further inspired and increased the confidence of its investors and partners, who are optimistic about the mid-size SUV's market performance and have faith in the joint venture.
In addition, more than 150 dealers have joined the automaker's network as of the end of November.
Dongfeng Renault announced at Auto Guangzhou 2016 that it will further expand its dealership network to 200 outlets around the country in 2017.
Beyond its traditional brick and mortar 4S showrooms, Dongfeng Renault is also driving into the online realm.
Its digital showroom has become widely used, with frequent visits from local customers.
Through the two localized models' high popularity in the market, a positive cycle has been established for the carmakers' Wuhan plant, located at the Wuhan Economic and Technological Development Zone, which began production of the Kadjar model in February this year.
The plant's production is climbing up steadily to meet customers' enthusiasm for the new models, secured by annual production of up to 150,000 vehicles in its first phase. The facility in Central China also produces engine parts for the locally produced models and serves as the Renault Group's first such plant outside Europe.