In the automotive industry, a single model can do a lot for its maker. Take Renault India for example. The Duster SUV, launched in 2012, helped the French OEM to gain a fair space in the highly competitive Indian automobile market. With the just-launched Kiger compact SUV, Renault India wants to build on what the Duster, and later the Kwid, delivered for the company.
Renault, which has been in the Indian market for 10 years but is yet to clock profit, expects to achieve a business breakeven “this year, or the next year latest”. This is in-line with the target set by Renault’s global CEO Luca de Meo for all Renault operations outside Europe to turn profitable by 2023, under the company’s ‘Renaulution’ strategic plan announced last month.
Venkatram Mamillapalle, country CEO and MD, Renault India operations, is hopeful to meet the target by a decent margin. “I think we are on track. Maybe a little earlier than that (2023),” he tells Autocar Professional. Renault, along with Alliance partner Nissan, has invested a billion euros (around 8,800 crore) in India so far.
Renault India currently has a market share of 3.4 percent in the passenger vehicle market. Powered almost equally by the Triber MPV, launched in August 2019, and the Kwid entry-level hatchback, the OEM climbed up two rungs, from eighth to sixth position, in the passenger vehicle industry in 2020 over 2019.
With the B-segment SUV Kiger entering the biggest segment of the market, Mamillapalle expects Renault India’s market share to climb up in the current year, but under one condition. “The 3.4 should go to close to about 4 percent-plus, and that should happen between now and end of this year or beginning of first quarter of next year, provided there are no more pandemics or eventualities,” he says.
With sales of 80,000 units in 2020, Renault India stood at seventh position among Renault's subsidiaries globally. In the domestic market, the OEM improved its ranking from eighth in 2019 to sixth position in 2020 in the passenger vehicle industry. Now, with the trio of the Triber, refreshed Kwid and the Kiger driving in the big volume segments, Renault India would look at gaining a more respectable share in the Indian industry, and also to enter the group of top five Renault subsidiaries globally. A strong focus on tapping the opportunities in semi-urban and rural India will be key for the OEM’s fresh growth, and profitability.