The Renault Espace, which we once (wrongly) referred to as the world’s first minivan, is reportedly dead. Long live the Renault Espace.
Reuters has the exclusive:
[Renault], shaken by the downfall of its once star CEO Carlos Ghosn and by setbacks in its main markets, is set to detail at the end of the month how it aims to cut costs by 2 billion euros ($3 billion) over the next three years.
That will coincide with Renault’s embattled Japanese partner Nissan (7201.T)’s own strategic update, set to be outlined on May 28 and which should encompass a pullback from Europe and elsewhere to focus on the United States, China and Japan.
“The project is not yet completely set in stone but the Espace, the (compact minivan) Scenic and the large sedan Talisman should already be considered scrapped from the future product programme, it is practically a given that these models will stop,” one of the sources told Reuters.
The Espace was launched in 1984, just after the Dodge Caravan, which started production in November 1983 and about 35 years after the launch of the Volkswagen Type 2, which is also a minivan. Some say the Espace F1 was the pinnacle of human achievement:
Reuters says that Renault sold around 10,000 Espaces last year, a fraction of the amount that Renault was selling at the Espace’s peak in the ‘80s and ‘90s, apparently a victim to Europeans’ increasing SUV purchases. That was also even after Renault redesigned the fifth-generation Espace in 2015 to be more SUV-like.
In its stead, Reuters says that Renault will lean more on the Kadjar, a compact SUV Renault debuted in 2015. With the production of the Dodge Grand Caravan ending this year the timing feels right, in any case. The Caravan and the Espace could only live and die together.