‘India is one of the major and priority markets for Renault': Venkatram Mamillapalle

While Renault India has plans to come out with mass market EVs in the near future, for the interim period it will continue to bank on its popular ICE product portfolio.

By Ketan Thakkar calendar 08 Mar 2023 Views icon13530 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
‘India is one of the major and priority markets for Renault': Venkatram Mamillapalle

French car maker Renault India says it is planning a pragmatic line-up of SUVs and EVs and Venkatram Mamillapalle, CEO and MD, Renault India Operations assures that the future models will be market disruptors in the future. In his first interview post the alliance investment announcement, Mamillapalle says India is one of the priority markets for Renault brand's future and that there are solid plans to reinforce the business.

With the mid-term vision announced by the Alliance, what is the way forward for the Renault brand in the country?
We are very much encouraged by the decisions announced by the Alliance and Renault India's role in the future of the Alliance partners a few days ago. India is one of the fastest growing markets with high growth potential. Being one of the most attractive markets in the world, it is one of the major and priority markets for Renault brand (5th market for Renault brand in 2022).

Renault continues to be the leading European brand in India. The brand has proved to be a real game-changer in certain segments, with the development of disruptive products such as the Kwid, Triber and Kiger.In 2021 and 2022 our main challenge was to increase our profitability in India. Renault Kiger, launched in 2021, has helped to enhance the overall performance of Renault in India, with a good level of profitability and commercial performance.

As Alliance we will invest US$600 million to support new models to be made in India. This investment is very significant not only on products but on technologies like EV to capture the growing Indian market. We are planning a pragmatic line up focusing on SUV segment and electric vehicles for the Indian market. All details concerning new vehicles launches will be announced in due course.

When do we see the first major product action based on the new plan announced by the Alliance globally?
We have just made the announcement. While the details will be shared in due course of time, at this point in time all I can say is that true to our product strategy, our new offering will be a disruptor, that will cater to the evolving customer expectations, while establishing the expertise of India’s design, technical and manufacturing prowess on the global map.

We will continue to focus on our plans of enhancing the range basis evolving customer expectations - Kiger, Triber andKwid. We have recently upgraded our entire range to meet the government’s BS 6 Step 2 emission norms along with enhanced safety features. We have a fair idea of what the Indian customer wants, and we intend to align our strategies with those expectations.

What is Renault's vision on A-segment EV?
We looked at all business opportunities, along three dimensions: regions, products, and technologies. And a series of high-value-creation operational projects came up in India. As part of our ‘Renaulution’ programme — there is a strong focus on electrification globally. Our aim is to launch an affordable product, catering to the mass market and thereby addressing the real objective and vison of India’s transition to electric mobility.

What will be Renault's future powertrain strategy? Is Hybrid part of the thought process along with EVs? What will be the core architecture for the future?
The product portfolio will be announced in due course of time. We will focus on the SUVs and EV along with the current line-up. Renault continues to be the leading European brand in India. We aim to offer worldwide a range of vehicles that can adapt to the diverse needs of customers and international markets. The brand has proved to be a real game-changer in certain segments in India with products such as the Kwid, Triber and Kiger.

This interview was first published in Autocar Professional's March 1, 2023 issue.

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