P>French auto major Renault on Wednesday forayed into the fast-growing utility vehicles segment in India with a mid-sized sports utility vehicle (SUV), ‘Duster’, tagged at Rs 7.19-11.29 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
Duster, which is the fourth of the five products Renault has scheduled for launch in the country by the end of 2012, has already received 3,500-4,000 pre-launch reservations.
Marc Nassif, managing director of Renault India, said the company was this year looking to sell 20 times more than what it sold last year. The company had sold 1,500 vehicles last year.
The Duster is available in both petrol and diesel variants. The petrol variant comes strapped with a 1.6-litre engine, and is priced between Rs 7.19-8.19 lakh. The diesel option, powered by a 1.5-litre engine, has prices ranging between Rs 7.99 and 11.29 lakh.
The SUV has been designed to take on the likes of Mahindra & Mahindra Scorpio and the Tata Safari. The Duster has localisation content of 60 per cent, which will be increased to 80 per cent by the end of the year. A 4x4 version is likely to follow sometime later.
Renault, which so far had restricted itself to manufacturing vehicles for the domestic market at its facility in Chennai, is working on commencing exports of the Duster by the end of this year.
“Duster is produced by Renault in five countries globally, and India will be the sole export hub for the right-hand drive version of the Duster,” informed Nassif. “We will export Duster to the UK by the end of the year. The specifications and features would be altered and the vehicle will be sold under the Dacia brand in the country.”
Renault sold 1,097 vehicles in April and May this year. It also plans to place 100 dealer outlets by 2012 to spruce up volumes to 100,000 units next year.