Like the ubiquitous, first generation Renault 5 hatchback last assembled in South Africa in the mid-1970s before it, Renault’s Sandero looks set to follow in its predecessor’s tracks.

Renault Sandero

In March 2009, the spacious and stylish Sandero 5-speed hatchback made its debut in the highly competitive AB segment passenger car category and according to Wayne van der Merwe, Senior Product Manager at Renault South Africa, Sandero’s affordability and unrivalled roominess has made it the ideal vehicle to grow the brand’s growth in the AB entry level segment.

Renault’s decision to regain local manufacturer status after a period of more than 30 years was brought about by its belief in and future commitment to the “new” South Africa and was bolstered into reality by an investment exceeding R1-billion made by the global Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Renault Sandero South Africa

From the outset Sandero’s price tag, parts availability and pricing, class-leading space – including 320 litres of boot space – and myriad above-class category specifications and features, have combined to make the sturdy and stylish hatchback a success. In addition to a host of safety features, driver and passenger airbags and ABS braking assisted by Electronic Brakefore Distribution are standard across the range.

“By the end of 2011, Renault Sandero finished off with a 10.5% share of dealer channel sales in the AB segment  and 10% of total sales,” says Van der Merwe. “Since launching in 2009, we have sold 16 773 units in total – 12 359 of those through our dealer channel representing 74% of total sales.

“Sandero currently ranks third in the AB entry level hatch segment with a 2012 year-to-date unit sales average of 11.1% through the dealer channel and sales overall of 9.5%.

“With the launch in March 2010 of our urban crossover Sandero Stepway flagship model, we have undoubtedly upped the game in this segment. Longer and wider than its two Sandero siblings, it’s quite amazing what Stepway’s additional 20mm ground clearance and overall elevation can facilitate on- and off-road. It is the only vehicle in its class that has proven small utility vehicle capabilities,” he explains.

“The revitalised Renault Sandero line-up undoubtedly now offers South African motorists a better than ever value proposition.”

CLASS-LEADING MAINTENANCE A short seven months after its launch, in October 2009 Renault Sandero made a clean sweep in its class in the annual Kinsey Parts Pricing Survey.

Renault Sandero

Reflecting as a percentage of its retail selling price, Sandero’s parts proved between 8.5% and 25.8% more affordable than its Japanese, Korean, German and French counterparts competing in the same segment.

“We are proud that Renault Sandero has gone on to maintain its parts pricing lead in both the 2010 and 2011 surveys consolidating its status as South Africa’s most affordable to maintain car in its class,” adds Van der Merwe. An independent survey, the Kinsey Report carries considerable weight in South Africa’s automotive sector and is regarded as the country’s definitive parts pricing survey.

“This is clear indication that Renault is delivering on its promise of service, quality and affordable cost of ownership, all integral elements of our on-going 110% Commitment philosophy. With 98% parts availability, Renault Sandero is firmly positioned as best in its class.”

CLASS-LEADING SPACE While ‘bigger and better’ is a common claim amongst motor manufacturers, it is absolutely true of the Renault Sandero. Longer, wider and higher, it is largest car in the AB entry level segment. Its price-to-space ratio is outstanding, delivering a big-car feeling despite its compact, budget-beating status while its value-added standard features list is a further attraction.

Renault Sandero’s “Cramped is not Cool” advertising sign off makes spaciousness a key factor in Sandero’s generously proportioned interior and above class average floor to roof clearance front and back makes for comfortable and roomy seating for five occupants. Its 50 litre fuel tank is well above the class average and as previously mentioned, its amazing 320 litre boot capacity puts it way ahead of its rivals and beggars belief within AB segment norms.

The well-equipped Sandero 1.6 Dynamique with its on-board computer is more competitive than ever in the R120 000 – R130 000 bracket while the 1.4 Ambiance is the only model offering dual airbags and ABS in its sub-R110 000 price class.

The Sandero Stepway has proven a trendy and versatile addition to the Sandero range since its launch 2010 and the recent realignment of the overall range has further entrenched its outstanding qualities, such as roominess and robustness, with plenty of eye-catching style to boot.

At R149 900 the Sandero Stepway’s price tag, impressive list of standard features and crossover SUV-like characteristics make it an affordable, practical and lifestyle-oriented choice that is totally unique in this category.

– 1.4 Ambiance R109 900 – 1.6 Dynamique R129 900 – 1.6 Stepway  R149 900

INDUSTRY LEADING WARRANTY As is standard across Renault’s entire product range, the Sandero models – Ambiance 1.4, Dynamique 1.6 and Stepway 1.6 – come standard with a 5-year/150 000km mechanical warranty and a 6-year anti-corrosion warranty. While the 3-year service plan is optional on the Ambiance, it comes standard on the Dynamique and Stepway variants.

Sandero is also backed by Renault Confiance, the all-encompassing care package that provides owners and drivers of Renault vehicles complete peace of mind motoring, value for money and a strong sense of satisfaction with their purchase of a Renault vehicle.

Crucially, the Sandero has been designed to cope with a wide range of driving conditions and, in particular, poor road surfaces. It is also highly resistant to corrosion, offers outstanding dust protection and relies on mechanics and bodywork that offer superb durability matched to low running costs.

“With Sandero’s emphasis on accessible pricing, class-leading innovation, peerless space, comfort and roominess, Renault South Africa is geared up and ready to continue its drive to offer value-driven motoring and unrivalled overall cost of ownership to South Africa’s motoring public,” concludes Van der Merwe.