Renault's big white hope for India, the Duster could nudge the Rs 7.5 lakh mark. In a conversation with Stephen Norman, Global Vice President, Marketing & Communications, he revealed to BS Motoring that the price of the Duster wouldn't start at under Rs 7 lakh as was expected, but would start around Rs 7.5 lakh.
The firm would offer the Duster with two engine options - the 1.6-litre petrol and 1.5-litre dCi diesel. The former will be part of the same family of engines that also powers the Nissan Sunny petrol in India and produces roughly 102.5 bhp of peak power and just under 15 kgm of peak torque. It is this version that will start at Rs 7.5 lakh and will be offered in two trims. The 1.5-litre dCi will come with two power ratings – 84 bhp and 108 bhp. The K9K motor, as it's also called, will be mated to a 5-speed manual for the 84 bhp version or a 6-speed manual for the 108 bhp version. The Duster will be offered with two-wheel drive (front-wheel drive) only for the moment, while the diesel versions will come with at least three trims each.
Renault is already on the verge of a success story with the Duster. It has registered close to 3,000 pre-launch bookings and is expecting to do better once the vehicle is launched tomorrow, i.e. July 4. It has a production capacity of 50,000 units a year to begin with and is expecting to sell about 3,000 units a month domestically while the rest it plans to export to the UK, the only other right hand drive market to get the Duster. In the UK, the Duster is priced at 8,995 pounds or roughly Rs 7.8 lakh for the base version. This one, however makes do with manual windows and no air-conditioning.
By the end of the year, it hopes to expand its dealer and service network to 85 touch points, helping the brand cover more than 80 per cent of India. The Duster comes with a high level of localisation and will touch 80 per cent in the coming months.