The Kwid, one of the most successful small cars in recent years and the growth engine for French carmaker Renault, appears to be losing speed at least in volumes. The numbers sold by the company (to dealers) hit an eight-month low to 6,924 units in January after peaking to 10,719 units in August 2016. Volumes have been less than 8,800 for three consecutive months since November.
Launched in September 2015, the unconventional sports utility vehicle styled entry segment aggressively priced car, shot to success attracting thousands of buyers instantly. A consequent waiting period, running into several months, prompted the company to ramp up production. Eyeing more market share, Renault also decided to expand its sales and service network.
Seen as a challenger to Maruti Suzuki’s entry-level vehicle, Alto (the most sold car in the country), Kwid started figuring among the top ten most sold domestic passenger vehicles since June last year. However, the rank slipped from fifth in June to ninth in December and it did not figure in the list last month when 6,924 units were sold.
Renault, however, says Kwid numbers are growing as per plan. “In India, the Q4 sale is impacted by seasonal trends wherein sales tend to dry. The same can be seen in the mini segment. We have communicated our targets for Kwid between 8,000 and 10,000 units per month and we are on track with this,” said a spokesperson.
Kwid’s early success is evident from the number of 50,000 in booking within only about a month of launch. The company announced in March 2016 that bookings hit another milestone of 100,000 units. Yet another milestone of 150,000 bookings was made public in July 2016. When Renault expanded the Kwid range with the launch of the 1-litre engine in August last year, it said cumulative booking of Kwid stood at 165,000 vehicles. However, there has been no further update on booking numbers. The spokesperson did not answer the specific query on cumulative bookings till date. Renault announced last week it had sold 130,000 Kwids since the launch but did not talk about bookings.
Volumes sold by the company hit an eight-month low of 6,900 in January. After hitting a high of about 10,000 units around August-September, the number looks under pressure since November. The pace of new bookings are also subdued unlike in the initial few months. The company last announced in July 2016 that bookings had hit 150,000 units. But, there was no update since then. Alto, Maruti's most sold small car, has seen a gradual pick-up of volumes and 22,000 units were sold in January.
The spokesperson did not give any reason for the decline in January volumes but said mini car industry growth for January 2017 was 15.1 per cent whereas, for Kwid, the growth was 15.7 per cent. “So, clearly, we are above the industry trend”. The company said February volume was good and it was confident of retaining the volumes done in Q1 of the calendar year 2016.
The small car market, dominated by Maruti’s Alto, has seen another entrant, Tiago, from Tata Motors. Tiago clocks an average monthly volume of 4,600 units. An analyst said some impact on Kwid might have come from the entry of Tiago (launched in April last year). “Both Kwid and Tiago appeal to the same set of buyers,” he said. Kwid begins at price of Rs 2.65 lakh while Tiago’s entry level model comes for Rs 3.24 lakh.