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Nissan to introduce a smaller 1.2-litre diesel engine-SCOOP

French carmaker Renault is developing an even smaller sport utility vehicle Captur after the successful launch of the Duster in 2012.

To compete with Ford’s EcoSport and market leader Maruti Suzuki’s sub-four metre SUV that will roll out next year, the Captur will be launched in 2018. According to estimates provided to suppliers, Nissan is targeting sales of 60,000 Capturs a year. Ford sells 4,400 EcoSports a month.

“The Indian version of the Captur will see some changes. The length is likely to be brought down to under 4 metres to avail of excise duty benefits,” a source close to the development said. The engines are expected to be the 1.5 litre diesel and 1.2 litre petrol used across Renault and Nissan models like the Micra, Sunny, Duster and the Fluence.

A Renault India spokesperson declined to comment on the development.

The Captur, based on the fourth generation Renault Clio platform, was shown as a concept at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The mini SUV was launched in France in April 2013 to strong sales.

“One good product can change the fortune of a brand in India. Who knows it better than Renault, which proved its prowess in the SUV segment. Bringing out another small SUV will be a fitting reply to competitors when its sedans and hatchbacks are struggling,” said Gaurav Vangaal, senior analyst for light vehicle forecasting at IHS Automotive.

Renault India’s sales volume dropped 28 per cent to 31,980 vehicles in April-December 2014. It will launch the Lodgy, based on the Duster platform, in the next few weeks to compete with Honda’s Mobilio, Maruti’s Ertiga and Toyota’s Innova. This will be followed by a new small car (Code: XBA) in the festival season to compete with India’s top-selling Alto by Maruti.

Renault sells the Pulse hatchback, Sunny and Fluence sedans and Duster and Koleos SUVs in India. It shares a production facility with its global partner Nissan in Chennai. The plant has a capacity to produce 4,80,000 vehicles a year.