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- The Renault Laguna coupé reminds me a lot of the old Renault Fuego. It is derived from a boring sedan, and it is more about looks than substance.
The Laguna coupé had to take on the Peugeot 407 coupé, but by the time both cars arrived on the market (‘05 and ‘08) no one was waiting for a coupé anymore. Not even one that looked like a faux Aston Martin. .
Renault Laguna Coupé 2.0 16V T Dynamique, 10 September 2009.
- Laguna - The Last Crusade, part 1. .
The Renault Laguna II was a disaster. And even though most of the drama was straightened out in a facelift, Renault knew it would have act to stay in business in this market segment. That things were taken seriously became clear on 8 February 2006, when Carlos Ghosn presented his ‘Commitment 2009’ plan. The plan was based on 3 key commitments: profitability, growth and quality. The next Laguna, to be launched in 2007, was the lead car of the plan. It had to be positioned among the top 3 models in terms of product and service quality.
This time, Ghosn kept his promise. The Laguna III was launched on 4 June 2007. Renault had done everything in its power to get it right. Fit and finish were perfect, from the body panels to the high grade materials that were used in the interior. In August 2007 Renault even proudly announced “The current Laguna is already ranked as one of the best cars in its class for reliability, having performed an impressive reversal of fortunes since the first phase of the car was launched in 2001.” Impressive, allright...
Less impressive however, was the way the Laguna III looked. The team that had designed brilliant cars like the Megane II and the Avantime, seemed to have lost inspiration. Laguna’s nose looked strange, with the bumper cutting high into the headlamps. The rear didn’t look much better, with the lamps set too high. All in all the Laguna was an awkward and conservative design, with some quirky details thrown in for good measure. The press reacted with disappointment. But the worst was yet to come… .
Renault Laguna 1.5 dCi Dynamique, 7 oktober 2010.
- Laguna - The Last Crusade, part 2.
The design of the Renault Laguna III was brillantly summarized by @life_behind_the_wood: it looks like it’s about to sneeze #😂 .
In September 2013, research firm Sandford C. Bernstein did a report on the most loss making European cars of recent times. Proudly featuring in the 8th spot: the Renault Laguna III. So what went wrong?
According to Sandford, Renault’s investments were based on selling 300,000 Laguna’s III per year. Before launch, these forecasts were already lowered to 220,000. Eventually the Laguna peaked at 100,000 in its first year, and would never even come close to that for the rest of its life. Renault had hugely underestimated the impact of the Laguna II drama. Customers in this segment had left Renault, and were not planning to return.
The Laguna’s that Renault did manage to sell, didn’t really bring home the bacon either. Part of Ghosn’s ‘Commitment 2009’ plan was that Renault was to go and chase the premium brands. Quality, remember? That’s why the Laguna III was developed to be sold at a higher price. This was another miscalculation, and before launch Renault already had to lower the price of the car. Bye bye profit margin.
The Laguna probably never made Renault any money. Sandford estimates each Laguna III cost Renault around 3,550 euros.
In February 2008 -within a year- production was cut down. Not soon after, the press started to speculate about Renault planning to kill the car ‘within 3 years’. Even if that wasn’t true, it devastated what was left of the Laguna’s image.
In June 2009 the range got a facelift in the style of the Laguna GT, but nobody noticed nor cared. Adding a Laguna Coupé doesn’t help sales either.
Renault muddled along with the Laguna III until May 2015 and then pulled the plug, after 433,000 cars. And just to make sure, the entire Laguna name was killed with it. .
Renault Laguna 2.0 16V T Initiale, 15 April 2008.