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Renault's Kwid all set to challenge Maruti's Alto

Consumers can book the five-seater, sub-four metre Kwid with a booking amount of Rs 11,000-25,000

Swaraj Baggonkar  |  Mumbai 

Carlos Ghosn (right), chairman & CEO, Groupe Renault, along with Sumit Sawhney, country CEO & MD, Renault India Operations, at the launch of the auto maker's latest model Kwid
Carlos Ghosn (right), chairman & CEO, Groupe Renault, along with Sumit Sawhney, country CEO & MD, Renault India Operations, at the launch of the auto maker’s latest model Kwid

Renault Kwid, challenger to Maruti Suzuki’s volume builder Alto, is set for its commercial launch in the next few weeks, even as the French company’s dealers prepare to accept bookings from Monday.

Consumers can book the five-seater, sub-four metre Kwid with a booking amount of Rs 11,000-25,000. Actual price announcement will be made by the end of September, with deliveries of the car set to begin in mid-October.

Sumit Sawhney, chief executive and managing director, Renault India said, “There has been a lot of positive response from the market for the Kwid. We are officially opening the bookings of the car on September 14”. The Kwid, a cross between a hatchback and a sport utility vehicle, is another attempt by the Renault-Nissan combine to break into the Rs 20,000-25,000 a month budget hatch market space, controlled by Alto followed by Hyundai Eon and Tata Nano.

Nearly 18 months ago, Nissan’s sister brand, Datsun tried to achieve that with the Go hatchback. However, the model has failed to take off so far. The Kwid’s base version is expected to be priced around Rs 3,00,000. The Maruti Alto 800 is priced at Rs 2,52,583, the Hyundai Eon at Rs 3,10,789 and the Datsun Go comes at Rs 3,23,542, (all prices ex-showroom Delhi for the base variant). Only the Datsun comes powered by a 1.2 litre engine. The Alto, Eon and Kwid have 0.8 litre petrol engines. The 624cc Tata Nano remains the most affordable of the lot, priced at Rs 1,99,500.

Built on the lines of an SUV, though Renault officials refuse to call it one, the Kwid has 180mm ground clearance, almost similar to some SUVs. Though the design draws influence from its once popular elder sibling Duster, the vehicle is built on a completely new platform. The Kwid will sport a three-cylinder engine. The engine specifications are better than that of the Maruti Alto 800 and Tata Nano and at par with the Eon, says the company.

Renault aims to keep the localisation content high to be price competitive. At least 98 per cent of the Kwid’s content will be procured within India.

The Kwid is the French company’s desperate effort to gain a firm foothold in the Indian market after having spent more than 10 years in the country with a domestic market share that stands at just 1.4 per cent, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers. Unlike its peers like Honda, Volkswagen, Toyota or Nissan, Renault has not hesitated in brining down its brand entry level price to around Rs 3,00,000 with the Kwid.

The Kwid will be the cheapest Renault on sale in India, lower than the Pulse hatchback priced at Rs 5.03 lakh.

The Duster SUV was the only successful model from Renault which gave Mahindra’s warhorse Scorpio a run for its money, even dislodging it to become India’s biggest selling SUV in the second year of its launch.

However, Renault could not continue to build onto that initial success despite having launched five more products after that.

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First Published: Tue, September 15 2015. 00:39 IST