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        Renault Duster's platform expected to be last of the strategic alliance with Nissan

        Roger Dsouza

        Roger Dsouza

        Renault and Nissan has finally come to a decision that both the auto makers will move away with the dual use policy of each vehicle's platform. This decision has come after witnessing a demand saturation, which resulted in cannibalisation of sales and offering of heavy discounts. Reportedly, both the auto makers were in a practice of sharing the platforms, components and engines of their vehicles, in order to pull the volumes and meet the economies of scale in the Indian auto market. It must be noted that both the auto makers also share the manufacturing unit in Chennai.

        Renault Duster's platform expected to be last of the strategic alliance
        Renault Duster's platform expected to be last of the strategic alliance

        Nissan happens to be the Japanese auto giant, whereas Renault is a well known French auto maker. Models like Renault Pulse and Nissan Micra, Renault Scala and Nissan Sunny carry almost similar designing language and styling. Even the interiors of these models are almost identical as the same is shared by both the companies. It must be noted that change in the preference of customer has ended up with a drastic fall in the demand for Micra hatchback and also a dip in the performance of Renault Pulse.

        Reportedly, the sales of Micra hatchback reduced by almost 39 per cent during the last fiscal, amounting to 11,449 units as against 18,633 units delivered in 2011-12. During the last year, Renault Pulse accounted for less than 5,600 units, which has been placed in the same price bracket. On the other hand, Maruti Swift, the segment leader, has witnessed a growth of over 15 times as the sales recorded by Nissan Micra. If sources are to be believed, Nissan is gearing up for the launch of a new compact Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), which is expected to be scheduled for this year end. Reportedly, this model is based on the manufacturing platform of Renault Duster and would be the last model of the cross badging philosophy of both the models. Interestingly, Duster compact SUV is hot seller in its respective segment as of now.

        Expressing his view on the same, the President of Nissan India Operations, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nissan Motor India, Kenichiro Yomura said that it was necessary to introduce cross-badge models in the Indian auto market, in order to achieve cost competitiveness. However, industry experts are of a view that this activity should have been kept limited as implementing the same in the entire product portfolio has impacted the sales of both the auto makers.

        Yomura was further quoted as saying, “India is a very competitive market and we came in late. In order to be cost competitive, we needed to be a big volume player from the beginning. We shared products with Renault and both companies sell products in domestic and export (market). By doing that, we achieved big volumes in three years. This was unprecedented. Otherwise, we are still at 100,000 production level and we suffer from amortisation and there is no (other) way to become cost competitive.”

        It must be noted that Nissan is in the process of employing some fresh investments in the Indian auto market, in order to establish a new manufacturing plant. The present unit of the auto maker has a potential to roll out 400,000 units. Interestingly, the auto maker is looking for the launch of four new models by the end of this year, including the introduction of Datsun brand in India somewhere in July. “Sometime in the future, I think we need to create another (capacity). We are looking at an additional area but no concrete plan as of now. There could be opportunities to set up a new plant,” Yomura added later.

        Auto analyst are of view that Nissan will introduce a SUV based on the platform of Duster, a reworked model of Evalia and probably a facelifted model of Micra before the end of 2013. the auto maker is looking ahead to three-fold its sales in the Indian auto market to 100,000 units by the end of ongoing fiscal. Along with increase in sales, the company is also planning to maintain a network of 145 dealers as against 95 dealers by March 2014.

        Renault Duster
        Renault Duster ₹ N/A Onwards
        Renault | renault duster | Duster