Latest version of big MPV should have reached showrooms next year. But its development is now on hold.
Renault has halted plans for its next-generation Espace people carrier. A new version of the big seven-seat MPV was due to reach UK showrooms next year.
The company says that the introduction in Britain, France of Spain of heavy tax penalties for vehicles that emit high levels of CO2, coupled with a trend across much of Europe to shift from bigger cars into smaller ones has forced the action.
‘As part of the plans to revitalise Renault, we planned to launch 26 new models before the end of next year. Despite the poor economic situation, investment is in the pipeline for all of our new models except the Espace,’ said Patrick Pelata, the French company's newly appointed chief operating officer.
"We have been forced to postpone this product because of rapid and unexpected changes in market conditions," he added.
"On paper, our plans for the Espace were fine, but revised anticipated volumes made them borderline. Pressure from taxation linked to exhaust emissions was far more than we had imagined – it's forced us to re-evaluate our ambitions in the upper part of the market.’ All Espaces currently emit at least 190g/km of CO2.
Although the Espace is the original MPV, the first of its kind when the original launched at the end of the 1970s, Renault sold just 2100 new Espaces last year in the UK.