Renault India not giving up on small cars, Kwid to get six-airbags in 6 months
Mamillapalle said that the company has no intention of exiting the small car space and the Kwid small car will continue to exist as long as the regulation is supported.
Renault India MD, Venkatram Mamillapalle says the company “Will not give up on the small cars” for the Indian market. The company is planning to spruce up the safety feature by offering six airbags and technology content on the vehicle, with a minimal price change to deliver a higher value proposition to the first-time buyer.
The updated Kwid with six airbags will hit the road in the next six months and the vehicle will also be compliant with E20 fuel by October of 2024.
Renault India had worked on its entire CMF-A and CMF-A plus architecture products to be six airbags ready ahead of the October 2023 deadline, but the government dropped its idea of making six airbags mandatory.
Mamillapalle told Autocar that the company has no intention of exiting the small car space and the Kwid small car will continue to exist as long as the regulation is supported.
“Yes the segment is declining, but there is a market for small cars especially in rural India, which is a big thrust area for Renault. Kwid is an SUV-designed, highly featured vehicle. The vehicle has got the biggest touch screen in the segment now, we are adding safety and other features consistently, and that too without change in price,” added Mamillapalle.
The company on Tuesday launched the upgraded versions of all three offerings – Kwid, Triber and Kiger with improved feature seats without a significant change in pricing. The company has introduced key variants to attract different customer sets. Given the strong traction for automatic cars amid growing urbanisation, the company introduced a new entry version for Kwid with an AMT or automated manual transmission.
To be sure A segment or the entry car segment has shrunk significantly post covid and the introduction of BS VI and mandatory front airbag regulation. From a 19% share of the overall market, the share of the A segment has dropped to about 9-10 percent post covid, and there are only two players that offer an A segment car – Maruti Suzuki and Renault India.
“We are currently holding on to the price, it should be an attractive proposition for our customers. There is a potential to grow the volumes. Feature addition will continue to take place, we are working on airbag options on Kwid, in six months, Kwid with airbags will be offered,” added Mamillapalle.
The company was able to deliver incremental features at a marginal price change due to a series of cost optimisation and engineering efforts undertaken, says Mamillapalle. The softening commodity prices also supported the company.
“We are not sacrificing anything; we are passing on the benefit to the consumer. It is not going to impact our profitability, it should enhance value to our customers and the overall value proposition,” added Mamillapalle.
During the calendar year 2023, the company sold less than 50,000 units – registering a double-digit decline in a market that grew by 8% to 4.1 million units.
Mamillapalle expects that with the refreshed portfolio and new variants, Renault will look to grow by double digits in 2024.
The broader industry expects the market to remain flat in 2024, given the high base of 2023 – which was a third consecutive year of strong growth, helping the industry cross a new peak of 4.1 million units.
As for mid-term, Renault India has announced that it will be launching 5 new models till 2027 and it will expand its addressable market from sub Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20-30 lakh segment, which is witnessing a bevy of SUVs.
The French car maker is likely to have a portfolio of half a dozen vehicles across segments from A to C segment, powered by a diverse engine option from EVs, CNGs, to Ethanol blended petrol run vehicles.
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