'Objective is to put India among Renault's top 10 global markets in less than 5 years.'

Bernard Cambier, senior vice-president and chairman – Africa, Middle East & India, Renault, speaks to Sumantra B Barooah about how the French carmaker plans to grow in India.

Sumantra B Barooah By Sumantra B Barooah calendar 24 Sep 2015 Views icon8646 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
'Objective is to put India among Renault's top 10 global markets in less than 5 years.'

India is currently at 15th place among the 128 markets Renault is present in. Bernard Cambier, senior vice-president and chairman – Africa, Middle East & India, Renault, speaks to Sumantra B Barooah about how the French carmaker plans to put India in the company's top 10 group and the Kwid's role in it.

The Kwid starts a new chapter for Renault in India. What are your expectations? What kind of a market share are you looking at in the Indian compact car segment in the near future?
Firstly, India is very important for us because it is a huge market and this market will really continue to improve. Currently, the market is more than 3 million (units) and very quickly this market will grow to reach 5 million units.

The Kwid is very important. The segment is huge – 22 percent of the total market. That is the most competitive market. If we are successful in India, we will be successful all over the world. We created a car that is almost 100 percent localised in India. This is the first time that a car manufacturer has produced a car with such level of localisation. The car is really made in India. But we will not stay on this segment. We will launch also new cars for India in the middle segment.

Secondly, it is a strategic market. I think it is the most difficult market in the world because the competition is very high. You have only a few car manufacturers who have managed to succeed in India because the market is very competitive. That is not a secret. I have read reports that CEOs of General Motors and Ford have said that they never made money in India. Their objective is to be profitable in India in five years. They have been in India for a long time. We are a young brand in India with a presence of four years.

What kind of a share would you be comfortable with in this 22 percent of the car market?
Our clear objective is to get 5 percent share of the overall market (by 2017). After that, in 2018, 2019, 2020, more than that. Clearly, to be successful, you must have a good product line-up for customers. Secondly, the quality has to be very high. Finally, the car must be localised to be competitive in the market. A good line-up is also not good enough. You must also have a good network. Currently, we have to progress, learn a lot and improve the skills of our network to assure the best quality service to our customers.  

As you build the line-up of pure Renault cars, would you drop the Pulse and Scala?
The Pulse and Scala are cars that have come from Nissan. I don't think to be successful we have to take the same car and only change the badging. This is not the solution.

What route will Renault take to build its brand in India? Its Alliance partner (Nissan) is realigning its strategy and taking the SUV route to build the brand.
We have the Duster, which is a very good SUV, and the Lodgy MPV. We are attacking the low A-segment with the Kwid. We will launch other cars in this segment. You can imagine that it is possible to have a 7-seater SUV in this segment.

Would the Kwid be exported to any of the other markets in the AMI region?
Yes, sure. We can export the parts and export the car to some markets. 

How are the markets in the AMI region shaping up for Renault? Would India be tapped as an export base more strongly to serve these markets?
Firstly, we are number two in Africa. Hyundai is number one and we are just some cars behind Hyundai. Toyota is number three. Unfortunately, not so in the Middle East. In Iran, we will have a big strategy. We are negotiating with two manufacturers. You will have to wait for some time. The ambition is to sell 400,000 cars a year in Iran.

What is the ambition for India?
For India, it is the same. That is to very quickly sell 400,000 cars in 2020 or just after 2020. The objective clearly is to put India among the top 10 markets for Renault, in less than 5 years.

Is Renault profitable in India?
Not yet. 

How long do you think it may take?
We have to be profitable in India, and we have to be profitable very very quickly.

‘Hard to be profitable in India, but the country will play a strategic global role’

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