Mumbai: French auto major Renault is planning to do an encore of its runaway success with the Duster and the small car Kwid, with its new premium SUV, the Captur that’s slated for Diwali launch.
Sumit Sawhney, managing director & chief executive of Renault India told PTI that the much-talked-about launch will take place in the December quarter, but refused to specify whether it could be a Diwali offering or not. The crossover SUV is also known as Kaptur in some global markets like Russia and Captur in Europe which is based on the Clio’s platform. But the Captur that’s coming to the domestic market is a crossover on the Duster platform and will be “positioned at a very premium over the Duster,” he said.
Sounding very bullish, he said Captur is a globally tested SUV having already sold over 1 million units. “We hope to repeat the same level of success here with the Captur”. According to industry analysts, the Captur will take on the Hyundai Creta and the top-end model may take on the Mahindra XUV500, the recently launched Tata Hexa and also Nissan’s Kicks expected by the end of the year.
According to analysts, the SUV may come in two engines options—a 1.6-litre petrol and a 2-litre diesel power train and may be priced around Rs12 lakh, which is the more or less same at that of the Creta. The compact SUV segment is the fastest growing cornering a fourth of the market pie. Launch is expected to cash in on this segment as Renault’s larger SUV, the Koleos, has failed in India therefore withdrawn now.
“The five-seater compact SUV with ‘cross-over DNA’ will be a very premium offering and much higher than the Duster. The new SUV will be rolled out from the company’s Chennai plant,” Sawhney said. The largest European car brand in the country with around 5% market share has primarily two models—the entry level SUV Duster and two variants of its small car Kwid-0.8 litre and 1 litre, which has been specially made for this market and the biggest volume grosser.
Despite media reports that Kwid is facing some headwinds, Sawhney said the “car is selling as per expectation, in fact exceeding our expectation of 8,000-10,000 units in all the seven months of 2017. In fact in most of the months, we have crossed 10,000 units. Together, we have sold around 58,000 units so far in 2017. We were the seventh largest carmaker here and still continues to be now.
“We have completed a little over five years but we are already the No. 1 European car brand here. We’ve a long-term commitment to this market and will continue to aggressively ramp up our network and build on our product offensive strategy to drive volumes. We still stick to our target of being the among the top five players by 2020,” he said.
In this regard he also said the company has already opened 300 outlets, making it the fastest network ramp-up in the country and will have 20 more by December. “Our network expansion is more focused on small towns. For instance we opened 10 outlets on a single day in Kerala taking the overall number 30 in the Southernmost state,” Sawhney added.
On the new launch he said, the Captur has a sensual crossover French design which is a unique vehicle class, clearly reflecting our new global design DNA. The Captur will have features like projector headlamps with C-shaped LED DRLs, large front grille and alloy wheels. Inside the cabin, the crossover will have a 7-inch touch screen compatible with Bluetooth, USB and AUX apart from steering mounted controls, automatic climate control and a flat-bottomed steering wheel.