PARIS: No, it's not short for Australia, but the name Renault has chosen for a new SUV to "conjure up the vibrancy and heat of the southern hemisphere."
Renault says the "Austral" is destined to replace the oddly-named Kadjar in the current range and will be unveiled in spring 2022 as a rival to the Ford Kuga, Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Teaser images show that the styling for this C-segment model has been apparently inspired by the smaller Megane E-Tech electric with its similar LED lights and sharp, aerodynamic front end.
Renault said the new name, which was trademarked in 2005, resonates in many European languages, including French, Spanish, English and Italian.
"With two As and the consonants 'str' in the middle, the word is built around a harmonious balance of sounds that are 'easy to pronounce' and 'serene', evoking the SUV’s power and control," said Renault's model-naming strategy manager Sylvia Dos Santos.
The Kadjar name was more obscure, resulting from the word "quad" for a go-anywhere four-wheeled vehicle and jar which recalls the French words "agile" and "jaillir" for agility.