The sad case of the Renault Laguna

Just the other day I caught myself trying to remember what the current Renault Laguna looked like, and I couldn’t. At some point I even started asking myself if there ever had been a 3rd generation Laguna! Don’t think of me as a badge snob, as I was really fond of the 2nd gen Laguna (both the liftback and the estate), it’s just that the 3rd gen is anything but memorable. And the European sales confirm this: it barely sold more than 16,000 units in 2014, and was outsold twofold by the Citroen C5/DS5 duo, almost threefold by the Peugeot 508, and almost tenfold by the VW Passat. Renault better pull out all stops if the 4th gen wants to enjoy even a fraction of the success the first two generations enjoyed in their heyday!

About Krzysztof Wozniak

Kriss grew up in Poland reading German car magazines, before moving to England and graduating to the British magazines, which he still considers the best in the world and continues reading them after he’d moved to the US. In college he promised himself he’s buy himself a used Porsche before he turned 30 (not to be accused of having a mid-life crisis), but instead family needs dictated a Subaru Outback. Still waiting for that perfect moment to buy a used 2008-ish Cayman…
You can find all his articles Here.

Comments

  1. Good article. Of course here in the UK, the current Laguna was withdrawn a few years ago. Back in the 1990s, Lagunas were everywhere!

  2. Bart Demandt says:

    True, Renault really messed up the Laguna. After selling almost 250.000 units of the second generation in 2002, sales plummeted hard. The car looked really good, but it had too many problems.
    Then with the 3rd generation, reliability was in the top of the segment, but this time they screwed up the design! It looks awkward from every angle and the facelift (pictured) hasn’t helped it a lot.
    No wonder Renault is ditching the Laguna name for the upcoming next generation, due later this year. That’s not surprising, because from what I’ve seen in design scoops and considering the recent Renault designs by Laurens van den Acker, I’m sure the design won’t be a stumbling block. And the French have got quality under control these days, so that history won’t repeat itself either. And all those customers that have sworn “never to buy/lease a Laguna ever again”, may stick to their promise, even if they’ve already forgotten and forgiven. So yeah, I think it’s smart to kill the tarnished Laguna name. It’s just a shame that they screwed it up so badly that it’s necessary to do so.

    @AndyT: Renault really has taken a big hit in the UK the last couple of years, swallowing their pride and withdrawing all their large cars. But with the new generation Clio their recovery has started and I’m sure the new not-a-Laguna-anymore will be available with RHD again. They should, if they want to take the car to be taken seriously. But then again, the new Espace is LHD only as well……

  3. Krzysztof Wozniak says:

    @AndyT: yes, it’s hard to believe, but there was a time that the Laguna was not only one of the top cars in its class, it also had a certain cool courtesy of its BTCC endeavors:

  4. Bart Demandt says:

    Ah, those were the days of BTCC!
    I still can secretly spend hours on YouTube watching videos of the 1993-1996 seasons with the steaming hot battles between the Renault Laguna, Audi A4, BMW 3-series and of course the Volvo 850. Just love it! Exciting door handle to door handle racing with the occasional rebellious shove. The enthusiastic Murray Walker commentary makes it even more brilliant.

    • What was the reasons behind that laguna 3 did bad apart from the other midsized? I quite dont get why it got declined..
      I never liked the mk3 phase 1 because of expired design. The version 2 should have been the original version and i think it could have matched the design quality of a4, opel vectra faclift, 3-series, c-class and i could have been far better looking car than the other midsized. Not to forget, why did reception and mentioning in the automagazines so bad? 🙁

      • renault should make a suv based on laguna like bmw x4 or x6 and try to get the laguna name back again. 😀

      • Krzysztof Wozniak says:

        @rü – Laguna Mk III’s problem was that at a time when buyers were demanding their mid-sized cars are either semi-premium (Passat), sporty (Mondeo) or good-looking (Insignia) the Laguna was none of those things. That it was never available as a sedan made its case even harder, as consumers had moved away from such a bodystyle in this segment over the past two decades.

        @Lukasz – the Talisman should sell reasonably well, but unless Renault can also sell it outside of Europe (maybe as a Samsung in South Korea) I don’t see how it’s a good return on investment for the company. It could be more a case of Renault being too proud to let go of the sector, just like carmakers were once too proud to let go of the non-premium Large sector (remember the Renault Vel Satis, last-generation Ford Scorpio, or the Opel Signum?)

  5. To me it simply proves that sales in car industry goes far beyond car reliability and price. It is just as much about PR, customers psychology and also a bit of politics I think… Not to defend Laguna’s visual side, but I would argue that Passat’s design is 10 much better as sales figures could indicate 😉
    I keep my fingers crossed for Talisman’s success. It seems to be a very well designed and made car, and I have overdose of SUVs on the roads 🙂

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