All those of you waiting for a 4×4 Duster – here’s some good news and bad news. Good news is that the Duster 4×4 is being made in India. Bad news, it’s only being exported for now!
Renault began exports of the Duster from its Chennai plant, under the Dacia brand. The Dacia Duster is being exported to Ireland and the United Kingdom. It will be available in 4×2 and 4×4 variants and in petrol and diesel options. The first consignment of 350 Dacia Dusters from the Renault Nissan plant were loaded on a ship on November 30, 2012. Also read: Renault Duster road test and review
The Renault-Nissan plant in Chennai is the only one globally to produce the right-hand drive version of the Duster, and hence the badge engineering again – as the Duster is originally a Dacia brand and is being sold as such in the UK and Ireland.
The Chennai plant of Renault-Nissan has the capacity to produce 400,000 units annually. The plant already makes and exports the Nissan Micra, while all the other Renault-Nissan products such as the Fluence, Sunny, Scala, Pulse, Evalia and others are made at the plant for the domestic market as well. The Duster has so far been the alliance’s largest selling product, selling over 19,000 units since its launch in July in the Indian market.
The Dacia Duster for the UK market is available in six variants and three trims. The trim levels are Access (equivalent of RXE), Ambience (equivalent of RXL) and the Laureate (equivalent of RXZ) in the UK market. The base Access trim comes with a 1.6 litre petrol engine putting out 104 bhp of power with a five speed manual transmission. It has two variants – a 4×2 and a 4×4 (selectable all-wheel drive). The mid-level Ambience trim comes with the 1.5-litre diesel engine developing 108 bhp of power with a six-speed manual transmission. This two has a choice of 4×4 or 4×2. The Laureate variant has the same 1.5 litre diesel engine choices, but offers more creature comforts in terms of upholstery and gizmos. All the Dacia Dusters come with a 3-year, 60,000 mile warranty. Also read: Choosing between an 85PS and 110PS Duster
Deliveries of the Dacia Duster will begin to UK and Ireland customers in January, although the company has been taking bookings of the Duster since June this year, around the time of its India launch. Prices of the Duster begin at Rs. 7.9 lakh (GBP 8,995). It is one of the most inexpensive SUVs in the UK.
Now that Renault has begun making the 4×4 Duster for export markets, can India be far behind? Watch this space (and pray).