After severing ties with the home- grown auto major Mahindra & Mahindra in 2010, French auto maker Renault has big plans for India in the current year, be it new launches, opening showrooms and ramping up production capacity at its alliance plant at Chennai.
The company, which today launched its first ‘mass-segment vehicle’ Pulse, also unveiled a crossover Duster which would be launched before Diwali in the domestic market, Renault India Managing Director Marc Nassif told reporters at New Delhi.
"India is a priority market for us. We are going ahead with our plans to launch five new products for the Indian market between the middle of 2011 and December this year. Pulse is our third product for the Indian market. Duster will come before Diwali. However, by the end of the current year, we will have five products across segments in India," he said.
Renault’s introductory product in the Indian market was Fluence, which was launched in May last year followed by the luxury SUV, Koleos in September. Pulse, a hatch-back, has been priced between Rs 5.77 lakh and Rs 6.25 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
"Pulse, a diesel variant, is expected to raise the bar for the premium segment compact cars with its vast array of features, focus on safety and performance which is both powerful and fuel efficient," Nassif said.
Duster would be manufactured in India with high local content and made available in both petrol and diesel variants, he said, adding that it is an affordable and trendy offer for all Indian drivers seeking for an exciting alternative to a traditional sedan.
On increasing the number of showrooms, he said the company has plans to expand the tally to 100 by the end of the current year from 35 now.
"We are going to open five more in the current month itself," he added.
Renault along with Nissan has already started working on doubling the manufacturing capacity of their alliance plant at Chennai. Nassif said that the expansion would be completed by the end of the current year.
As per the existing agreement, Renault can offtake 30 per cent of the total production of the plant.
Renault India was established in 2005 and it entered into the Indian market in collaboration with Mahindra and Mahindra to manufacture a sedan called, Logan.
However, the relationship went into sour and from April 2010 onwards, its started its solo journey.