5 New Launches of Renault India as EV, Duster and many more in the next three years
Venkatram Mamillapalle, the managing director of Renault India Private Limited, boldly declares, “We are going to make the Red Ocean more red.” This vivid metaphor refers to the intense competition in the compact SUV space, particularly within the sub-Rs 10 lakh price range. In this highly contested arena, Renault’s Kiger competes with heavyweights like the Hyundai Venue, Maruti Suzuki Brezza, Tata Punch and Nexon, and Kia Sonet, not to mention its sibling, the Nissan Magnite.
Renault’s strategy is intriguing – Venkatram reveals that the company aims to intensify the competition by enhancing the value of their cars. This involves offering more features than competitors without increasing the price. When questioned about the potential impact on the company’s bottom line, Venkatram emphasizes that this value addition is feasible due to cost optimization by the engineering team. Significant cost savings achieved on the production line enable the addition of more features, allowing Renault to pass on the benefits to customers without compromising profitability.
Speaking at a media roundtable interaction ahead of the launch of three refreshed products – the Kwid, Kiger, and Triber – Venkatram clarified that the company is focusing on incorporating safety and convenience features rather than structural changes to the vehicles. This strategic move is expected to give Renault a technological advantage over its competitors.
In the entry-level car segment, the Kwid competes with the Maruti Alto, a segment traditionally characterized by basic mandated safety features. Renault plans to differentiate itself by adding features like tyre pressure monitoring, an 8-inch touchscreen with Android Auto, and, in the future, six airbags. The company also aims to introduce an AMT variant. These additions are designed to give Renault an edge over its rivals.
The Triber, Renault’s highest-selling vehicle, targets more market share with additional features. Already commanding over 41 percent share in rural markets, the Triber will receive upgrades such as a new TFT instrument panel, wireless charger, and driver armrest, among other features. Positioned below the Maruti Ertiga in the MPV segment, the Triber competes primarily with the Maruti Eeco.
As for the Kiger, Renault’s premium sub-4-metre compact SUV, it faces stiff competition in a crowded market. To stand out, it needs to offer a range of features, including leatherite seats, steering wheel, red calipers, and auto-folding mirrors with full keyless entry.
Renault’s current market share in the passenger car market stands at approximately 1.2 percent. The company faced financial challenges during the Covid pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, resulting in a hit to its market share. However, Venkatram expresses confidence that the company will bounce back to over 2 percent market share this year.
Renault has announced a significant investment of over Rs 5,300 crores in India, earmarked for future products. The company plans to launch five products over the next three years, including offerings in the B+ and C segments of SUVs. This includes the return of the popular Renault Duster, which was discontinued a year ago. Additionally, Renault is working on introducing a small electric vehicle (EV) but will only do so after the charging network expands. The company is in talks with BPCL and HPCL for charging stations.
In terms of battery sourcing, Venkatram expresses optimism about local sourcing, citing companies like Vinfast and Ola setting up close to 200 GW of cell capacity in India. As a result, dependence on imported cells is expected to decrease, facilitating the growth of local sourcing.
Renault has recently unveiled its new logo, signaling a fresh identity for the brand. A year ago, the company ventured into the used car business under the brand “Renew,” a clever play on the words Renault and new, focusing on pre-owned Renault cars. This multifaceted approach showcases Renault’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and a customer-centric design in the dynamic and competitive Indian automotive market.