Do you care what your trucks look like? Or are you more concerned with purchase price, running costs and residual values?

The extent to which emotion is involved in purchasing a new truck is interesting – I bet most people reading this care, at least to some extent, what the car they drive looks like, even if it is ostensibly mainly a business tool they see more of from the inside than the outside.

The launch of the new Renault range was a case in point. Most companies that had spent €2bn (£1.7bn) developing a completely new cab would have painted it in bright colours – orange, anyone? – stood it on a pedestal and unveiled it under a blaze of spotlights.

The new Renaults, painted in drab olive, appeared in a stygian gloom that had the assembled crowds craning their necks to catch a glimpse as they drove past.

Renault Trucks design director Hervé Bertrand – who, judging by his penchant for orange trousers, is no stranger to design oddities – says he deliberately made sure no members of his team secretly harboured a desire to design cars. Renault refers to its new truck as a tool, an attitude that is reflected in the range’s austere, even bleak, appearance and extensive use of plastic to save weight at the expense of luxury.

Although prices have yet to be announced, this approach is, of course, partly because Renault’s parent Volvo will remain the premium brand in the group line-up, while Renault is seen as the more workaday product that will compete in the mid-market.

It has been true for several years that no one builds a really bad truck any longer, and purchase decisions these days tend to be based on the quality of aftersales service and availability of finance.

Which brings us back to the original question – do looks matter? As long as the new trucks deliver their promised improvements in reliability, fuel economy and driver acceptability, will operators and drivers care if they look like tanks? Maybe in this age of austerity that is the whole point.