A little over two months after it first revealed its all-new Triber SUV, Renault India today launched the vehicle with a pricing strategy that ranges from Rs 495,000 to Rs 649,000. The seven-seat model is available in four variants and comes with one engine and one gearbox.
Powering the Renault Triber is an upgraded version of the Kwid’s 1.0-litre (BR10), three-cylinder petrol engine. It makes 72hp and 96Nm of torque and comes paired to a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard. The ARAI-rated mileage for this engine-gearbox combination is 20kpl. Renault is expected to introduce a turbocharged version of the 1.0-litre petrol engine at a later stage and an AMT gearbox option.
Top-spec Tribers feature an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, a digital instrument cluster, AC vents in all three rows, a cooled centre box, keyless entry, push-button start/stop, power windows, projector headlamps with LED DRLs and a rear wash-wipe. In terms of safety, all Tribers come with three-point seat belts on all rows, ABS, reverse parking sensors and at least two airbags. Additionally, top-spec variants get the added safety of front-side airbags and a rear parking camera.
Built on Renault's modular CMF-A+ platform
The Triber is built on Renault’s modular CMF-A+ platform that also underpins the Kwid hatchback. The SUV is 3,990mm long, 1,739mm wide, 1,643mm tall and has a 2,636mm wheelbase. With these dimensions, it’s a fairly substantial car, even among sub-four-metre models.
The Triber is one of two compact (under 4m) seven-seater offerings in the Indian market; the other being the Datsun Go+. With all seats in place, the Triber's boot space is all of 84 litres. However, the rear-most seats can be removed altogether, increasing luggage room to an impressive 625 litres. Besides the SUV-like styling, the Triber's 182mm of ground clearance also helps the model look more muscular.
While the Triber looks to be a bit of a niche model – offering seating for seven but at a price point between the Datsun Go+ (Rs 3.86-5.94 lakh) and the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga petrol variants (Rs 7.55-10.06 lakh) – its Rs 4.95-6.49 lakh* price tag will see it compete against the the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R 1.0 (Rs 4.34-5.33 lakh) and the petrol-powered versions of the Hyundai Grand i10 (Rs 5.02-7.09 lakh) and Ford Figo (Rs 5.23-7.70 lakh). The French brand hopes that the Triber's compact size, spacious interiors and flexible seating configurations, coupled with the price, will help draw buyers from similar-size B segment hatchbacks.
The Triber will be sold from Renault India's network that comprises over 350 outlets.
Renault India needs a winner on its hands. The company, which began operations in early 2010 from its Chennai plant, has a 2.33 percent share of the passenger vehicle market. In the April-July 2019 period, the carmaker has sold a total of 21,265 units, down 21.26 percent year on year. It closed FY2019 with sales of 79,654 units, down 22 percent. Will the Triber draw a new round of consumers to the Renault brand in India? Watch this space.
All prices are ex-showroom, Delhi
Interview with Venkatram Mamillapalle, MD, Renault India
Speaking to journalists after the launch, Venkatram Mamillapalle said, "We are closely looking at the very fundamental needs of the Indian buyer and our approach has now shifted towards designing new products specifically to India's requirements and then look at exporting them abroad."
The Triber, he said, "is a step in that direction and suits the needs of the Indian car buyer completely." With a seven seater configuration, the company is expecting good demand from the rural markets as well and has deployed specialised personnel to train sales staffers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns.
Mamillapalle further mentioned that the company is now hopeful of good volumes with the Triber and that it would start heading into a positive direction, in terms of profitability, which has been plummeting with its market share due to lack of new products and a fresh approach to the Indian market.
"We are now looking at the Indian market in a different light and we plan to introduce one new innovation-laden model every year," Mamillapalle said. Speculations say that a sedan could be next on the cards, and while Renault India also intends to enter the EV space, that won't happen before 2022.
"We will enter the EV space in India in 2022, but having said that, the ecosystem and infrastructure is still not up to the mark, and we expect the government to develop the EV ecosystem in the country before aggressively pushing EV adoption," he added.
Talking about the ongoing slowdown, Renault says that while it is in a better situation than the industry with roughly 25 days of inventory at its dealerships, discounting will not help the dealers sustain business in the long-term, "wherein we need to ensure them stable revenues, be it through retail sales or aftersales," he said.
"We have been very agile during this phase of slowdown, our inventory today is at 25 days which has been possible with close coordination between our dealer partners and sales teams. While the plant is already optimised to a great extent, we need to further be effective and efficient in our processes to overcome this kind of a slowdown in the market," added Mamillapalle.
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