Come Diwali 2015, French automaker Renault will launch a brand car in India, the Kwid budget hatchback. This car was just unveiled moments ago at Chennai, by Carlos Ghosn, the global CEO of Renault-Nissan. The Kwid was code-named as the XBA/A-Entry and will be the least priced car that Renault will sell in India and other emerging markets around the globe. The car will be built at the Renault-Nissan joint manufacturing facility at Oragadam, off Chennai, and will also be exported from India.
What is the Kwid all about?
Renault established itself as a mass market brand in India with the Duster SUV, a highly successful vehicle. To brak free from the one trick pony tag that Renault was saddled with, the brand launched the Lodgy MPV last month, another big volume vehicle that goes head to head against the best selling Toyota Innova. The response to the Lodgy has been very positive. The Kwid is the latest in the trio of vehicles for India, and is the one that is aimed at bringing in the lion’s share of volumes. In a nutshell, Renault expects the Kwid hatchback to be its best selling car here.
What could make the Kwid the best seller it is aimed at becoming?
1. Styling – The vehicle presents a very unique proposition to the entry-level car buyer, by combining butch looks of an SUV in a compact hatchback package. The Kwid is a hatchback designed to look like a crossover. In fact the car looks like India’s very own Fiat Panda, replete with body cladding and a butch front end. Measuring 3.58 meters in length. 1.58 meters in width and , the Kwid sits squarely in Maruti Alto territory, which brings us to its pricing.
2. Pricing – In terms of pricing, the Kwid’s base variant will start near the 3 lakh rupee mark, with the top-end variant to cost a lakh higher. This price puts the Kwid squarely in the entry-level budget hatchback segment, a space that currently delivers over 30,000 units in terms of monthly sales. With its aggressive pricing backed by extensive localization, the Kwid could bring in incremental volumes to its segment. If the car does a consistent five to six thousand monthly units here, Renault would be quite pleased.
3. Basic but well designed, good looking interiors – The Kwid’s interiors have room for four adults, with initial impressions suggesting that the front seats are quite spacious for two adults, while the rear seats can squeeze in two more. While space isn’t a strong point on this car, the interiors look a cut above the best selling Maruti Alto. The design of the Kwid’s interiors could win the car a few fans, even as its space is limited to say what the Alto offers. Also, a MediaNAV touchscreen infotainment system and driver airbag will be offered on the top-end variant.
4. Best-in-class fuel efficiency – The Kwid will be powered by an 800cc, triple cylinder petrol motor that has been developed by Renault-Nissan’s technical center at Chennai. Renault, which is yet to reveal the exact fuel efficiency figures for this car, claims that the Kwid will deliver best-in-class fuel efficiency. Indian buyers love fuel efficient cars and this is one aspect of the Kwid that is likely to appeal to their buying sensibilities.
5. 180 mm ground clearance – The Kwid is no micro SUV but the 180 mm ground clearance that this crossover styled hatchback offers should make it ready for the rough and tumble of Indian roads. Renault is a brand that is known for serving up cars with excellent ride quality. If the high ground clearance and short wheelbase is coupled to a good ride quality, the Kwid could prove to be a compelling proposition for entry-level hatchback buyers, whose other mature riding option currently is the Datsun Go.