Renault is considering returning to the US market to sell cars and SUVs, a Wall Street Journal report claims. Renault left the market in 1987, which is the year that the Alliance and the Encore stopped rolling out of AMC factories. Even as Nissan entered the fold, there have been no concrete plans for its return to US shores.
Gerard Detourbet, head of Renault's entry-level vehicle division, said that the company is studying a move to North America, and the vehicle that could influence the decision is the low-cost Duster SUV.
Dacia in Romania is currently building the Duster but as soon as production is increased, this will eventually be sold as a Renault. Another factor that would be considered in Renault's US return is its success in emerging markets like South America and Eastern Europe.
Reportedly, Detourbet doesn't intend for Renault to enter the U.S. market with just one vehicle like it did with the Alliance in late 1982. Rather, he favors a family of affordable vehicles as the best approach.
Renault's Logan line is already established in many parts of the world; hence, it's possible it could be reworked for U.S. duty at some point in the future.
It's unlikely though that Renault would be moving back within 3 to 5 years. The challenge is that retrofitting the Duster for the US will make it heavier, more expensive, and without a diesel engine.