Snapshot: Renault will have a restrained 2014 of sorts in India what with the French automaker preferring to focus on facelifts and upgrades of its existing range of cars rather than launching all-new car models. After riding out subdued market conditions this year, Renault India plans to get into high gear come 2015. The heavy infantry will arrive in the form of the Lodgy MPV and A-Entry hatchback. While the Lodgy is a 7 seater that will rub shoulders with the likes of the Innova and the Ertiga MPVs, the A-Entry is an 800 cc small car that will be the least priced Renault to be sold in India.
Renault Lodgy MPV
The Renault Lodgy MPV will arrive into India in early 2015. The car will be built at the Renault-Nissan joint manufacturing facility at Oragadam, off Chennai. However, the Lodgy will be sold only with Renault badges and will not see Nissan sharing the MPV under a badge engineering exercise. This new tactic has been adopted by Renault and Nissan in India to improve the strengths of their respective brands.
The Lodgy is based on the second generation Logan (Dacia M0) platform and will feature a 1.5 liter K9K turbo diesel motor as the major engine option. A five speed manual gearbox will drive the front wheels of the 4.5 meter long Lodgy. Although the Lodgy is longer than the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, and is a little short of the Toyota Innova in terms of length and cabin space, the MPV is likely to be positioned somewhere in between the Ertiga and the Innova in terms of pricing.
Renault is also likely to sell the Lodgy with a 1.6 liter petrol engined option, a-la-the Duster SUV. Although the petrol powered Lodgy is likely to be a low volumes model, total diesel deregulation is likely to increase demand for petrol powered cars and utility vehicles in the country. Renault India, it seems, is banking on this factor and could therefore be a beneficiary of any shift towards diesel powered cars and MPVs.
As of now, a right hand drive version of the Lodgy is yet to be built and a decision on this regard is likely to be taken shortly for international car markets. Given that the Lodgy is India bound, the UK market could see the MPV being exported from India once Lodgy production begins here. This tactic is similar to what Renault has employed with the made-in-India Duster, which is exported to the UK with Dacia badges to boot.
Renault A-Entry Hatchback
Renault’s big bet in the volumes game will include the A-Entry hatchback. The A-Entry hatchback is currently under development in the Renault-Nissan Technical Center at Chennai, India. The car will share its underpinnings with the Datsun Redi-Go, a concept that was showcased at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo. Like the Redi-Go, the Renault A-Entry will be powered by an 800 cc-3 cylinder petrol engine.
Likely to feature a tall boy design like the Datsun Redi-Go, the Renault A-Entry hatchback will be based on the Renault-Nissan CMF-A platform. The CMF architecture, an acronym for common module family, entails parts and platform sharing amongst a range of cars wearing Renault, Nissan, Dacia and Datsun badges. The CMF-A architecture represents entry level cars such as the Datsun Redi-Go and the Renault A-entry hatchbacks.
The Renault A-Entry hatchback will be the least priced car in the French car maker’s portfolio in India. While the car will initially be aimed at the Indian car market, it could be exported to emerging markets across the world if it proves to acquit itself in the hugely competitive Indian car market. Apart from pricing it well, Renault India will have to expand its dealership and after sales networks if it intends to take the fight up to market leaders in the entry-level hatchback segment.
Want to know what Renault India showcased at the 2014 Indian Auto Expo? Here’s Cartoq’s video coverage of the Renault India pavilion at the Auto Expo.