French car maker Renault has gone aggressive on its network expansion plans. The surging volumes of its popular hatchback Kwid have prompted the company to revisit the earlier plan of adding 30 outlets this calendar year. Seeing the interest in Kwid from small towns, the company will now add 60 outlets this year, taking its network strength to 270.
“We are seeing a great response to Kwid from cities as well as smaller towns. We had earlier set a target to reach 240 outlets by end of 2016. But now we will increase it to 270 by end of the year from 210 now,” Sumit Sawhney, chief executive officer and managing director for Renault India told Business Standard.
Sawhney said the decision of additional 30 outlets will focus on expanding presence in smaller locations, especially tier III and IV towns. Unlike its sports utility vehicle Duster, which is mainly metro centric, Kwid has seen response from all the states.
Launched in September last year at an aggressive price of Rs 2.56 on the back of a 98 per cent localisation (components sourced locally), Kwid is competing with Alto, the popular entry level hatchback from country’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki. The SUV styled hatchback has also found a place in the top ten most sold cars in the country. A total of about 9,500 units were sold in May.
With more than 120,000 bookings, Kwid is seeing a waiting period of 3-4 months. The company has introduced a third shift at its plant in Chennai early this year and will be looking to produce a total of 10,000 Kwid a month from July.
Kwid has also changed the fortunes of Renault in the fast growing Indian passenger vehicle market. Its market share improved from 1.66 per cent in FY15 to 2.57 per cent in FY16. In April, its share stood above 5 per cent. “We are already the largest European brand in the Indian car market. We hope to close this year with a market share of 5 per cent,” said Sawhney.
India has also become one of the top ten markets for Renault. Renault has also started exporting Kwid from India to Sri Lanka. It will look at other markets in South Asia.