Chennai is becoming a hotspot for small SUVs. Less than 50 km from each other are Renault and Ford, two players who are about to change the dynamics of the premium C segment. The first one is already here, and has the opportunity to make the most of it till Ford unleashes the EcoSport. But Renault is on a firm footing with the Duster, at least as far as the product goes.
The Renault Duster is available as a two-wheel drive model only, with a few interesting engine options — a petrol engine and a diesel engine with two power ratings, combined with either a 5-speed or 6-speed manual. If that’s not enough, Renault has positioned the car in a sweet spot, overlapping premium B-segment hatches, mid-level C-segment sedans and the more premium ones. You could say that Renault is once again doing to the car market what Mahindra did with the Scorpio ten years ago. And there hasn’t been a credible rival to either the Scorpio or the Tata Safari in all these years.
It’s numbers that will do the talking. Mahindra sells about 4,000 units of the Scorpio each month, despite it being a 10-year old platform. Renault is hoping to do at least 3,000 units for similar periodicity, and that doesn’t include exports to the UK, the first right hand drive export market. If Renault can achieve those numbers, then its India story is truly bright, and it will allow for other cars like the Scala (Renault’s badge engineered Sunny), Renault’s take on the Nissan Evalia MPV and a small car that could be positioned under the Pulse, to seriously take off. And at the end of the first week , Renault have notched up an impressive 6,000 bookings. Some achievement!
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