Renault to Take on Maruti, Hyundai with Product Blitz
Ketan Thakkar & CR Sukumar
Mumbai | Hyderabad: Encouraged by the success of the Kwid that gnawed away an 8% market share in the entry-level car market from Maruti Suzuki and Hyundai Motor, French auto maker Renault is preparing a product onslaught targeting the leaders in key segments.
In the works are plans to launch several models or variants over the next three years in the under .₹ 8 lakh category, which makes up for more than 70% of India’s passenger vehicle market, said five parts vendors to Renault, all speaking on the condition of anonymity. Maruti and Hyundai Motor India are the top two players in the segment where others such as Honda, Tata Motors and Ford, too, compete.
Renault India managing director Sumit Sawhney declined to speak on specific plans, but said “a lot of exciting products” were in the pipeline. “We will be working on segments where we are not present. We will try to bring in a lot of innovation in order to make them the game-changer in the segment and redefine the segment or create a sub-seg- ment out of it.” Kwid has been a runaway success for the company that previously had just one product with meaningful sales in India, the Duster SUV. The small car garnered more than 1 lakh bookings since launch six months ago.
Apart from a Kwid variant with a 1-litre engine (the current car has a 800-cc engine) to take on the likes of Maruti’s Alto K10 and Wagon R, Renault has started working on an evolution of the CMF-A platform, called CMF-A+, which can accommodate a wider body and more powerful engines.
The Kwid was the first car to be produced on the CMF-A, or Common Module Family A, platform, developed jointly with Nissan. The modified platform is expected to spawn out a multipurpose vehicle, codenamed RBC, in the segment where Maruti’s Ertiga is the leader. A subfour-meter sedan, codenamed LBC, to take on the Maruti Dzire and a compact SUV, codenamed HBC, to pit against Maruti Vitara Brezza, are among the other models to hit the Indian roads in the coming three years. From these three models, the company is targeting a volume of 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh vehicles a year, including exports.
“The MPV RBC is more or less finalised on the design front, whereas the sub-4-meter sedan and SUV are at a conceptualisation stage,” said one of the five vendors.