Renault is planning to increase production of the Duster, now that it suddenly seems to have hit the sweet spot with demand for this new compact SUV. The Duster has chalked up 8,500 confirmed bookings, and waiting period is creeping up on three months for the vehicle. The company does not want to keep waiting period more than a maximum of 6-8 weeks (2 months) for the Duster.
The company has capacity to spare at its plant in Chennai, with an annual capacity of 400,000 vehicles, where it has a flexible line with Nissan and Renault vehicles being produced. This plant is used for producing cars for export as well.
The Duster appears to have caught the fancy of the Indian buyer, despite some shortcomings, going to show that image, fuel economy and practicality win over everything else for buyers of compact SUVs. Also read: Renault Duster road test and review.
The Duster is available in a total of eight variants, two petrol and six diesel priced between Rs. 7.2 lakh and Rs. 11.3 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi. At that price, it’s not really a value-for-money vehicle compared to competition such as the Mahindra Scorpio on one side and sedans such as the Maruti SX4, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Verna on the other. Yet, being the first mover in this new segment of compact SUVs, the Duster is riding the wave.
Renault had expected to sell a total of 30,000 vehicles this year, a 20-fold increase from last year – and this includes all Renault badged vehicles – Pulse, Fluence, Koleos, Duster and the upcoming Scala sedan. With the Duster already chalking up over 8,500 bookings, this looks like a very achievable figure for Renault. The only thing limiting the company’s growth is the slow pace at which its dealer network is expanding.
The company at present has 55 dealers in place, which it wants to expand to 70 in the next couple of months, and then to 100 by beginning of 2013.
The company had planned a total of five vehicles for the Indian market by the end of this year, with only one launch remaining. However, it’s now thinking of expanding its vehicle range and is eyeing the small car market, although there are no details of any other future models its considering for India right now.