CHANTILLY, France (Reuters) - French carmaker Renault (RENA.PA) on Monday launched its new Talisman model, replacing the Laguna at the top of its private passenger vehicle range in the hope it will do better against the German competition.
Aimed at a sector long dominated by German offerings from BMW and Mercedes, the Talisman will be marketed in France from the end of this year, and then rolled out in the rest of Europe, north Africa and Turkey.
"The market for these big road cars is about a million a year in Europe. There is no reason for Renault to be absent from the segment," a spokesman said at the launch in Chantilly, near Paris.
Early models of the Laguna, launched in 1994, suffered from reliability problems, and the trade press criticized a decision to keep the name when the Laguna III hit the market in 2007.
The Laguna III has sold only 345,000 units since launch, including 16,000 last year. The first and second Laguna versions sold 1.4 and 1.1 million respectively
Renault has focused on design, equipment and comfort to win market share for the Talisman, which is also slightly bigger than its predecessor.
The Talisman, a name taken from an existing Renault car marketed in China, will appear at the Frankfurt auto show in September.
Reporting by Gilles Guillaume; Writing by Andrew Callus; editing by Mark John