Renault South Africa has confirmed that it will not be importing further examples of the Clio RS 200 Lux and Clio RS 220 Trophy derivatives when current dealer stock runs dry.
The local distributor for the French brand confirmed to CARmag.co.za that this would leave the recently launched special-edition Clio RS 18 as the only RS-badged model in its Clio line-up (although it emphasised that its dealers still held stock).
Interestingly, just 65 examples of the R449 900 Clio RS 18 have been set aside for South Africa, although the automaker said at the limited-edition model’s launch that it would attempt to secure more units if local demand were high enough.
Separately, Renault SA repeated to CARmag.co.za that it would “relook” at the situation once all 65 units had been sold, “subject to demand”.
So, what is the rationale behind the decision to effectively cull the 147 kW Clio RS 200 Lux (R392 900) and 162 kW Clio RS 220 Trophy (R438 900), both of which launched locally in facelifted guise in May 2017? Well, Renault SA told us that “for a model that doesn’t sell high volumes, it just doesn’t make sense” to have a multiple-derivative line-up.
Of course, the light hot hatch segment in South Africa is not nearly as crowded as it once was, with the likes of the Opel Corsa OPC and Peugeot 208 GTi having disappeared from local showrooms some time ago (even the Audi S1 is no longer offered here).
As it stands, the only hot hatches currently offered in the B-segment in South Africa are the new Volkswagen Polo GTI, the outgoing Ford Fiesta ST (the next-generation model is expected in SA in 2019) and the Mini Cooper S, although a case could be made to also include the Abarth 595 and perhaps the upcoming Suzuki Swift Sport, which is scheduled to arrive in the first quarter of 2019.
Ryan has spent most of his career in online media, writing about everything from sport to politics and other forms of crime. But his true passion – reignited by a 1971 Austin Mini Mk3 still tucked lifeless in a dark corner of his garage – is of the automotive variety.