iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Sumant Banerji, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, September 24, 2012
The success of French carmaker Renault’s recently-launched utility vehicle Duster has caused dissensions with its Japanese alliance partner Nissan in India. While Nissan has openly talked about the possibility of borrowing the car for its own use, Renault seems reluctant to share it at least in the short term.

The vehicle, touted as India’s first sub- Rs. 10 lakh global SUV, has met with commendable success with bookings of over 15,000 units and a waiting period stretching up to 3 months. Sharing it with Nissan, which has more presence in the country, could, however, be counter productive for Renault’s own business plan.

“The matter has not come up for discussions yet so the answer is no, we are not sharing Duster with them (Nissan),” Marc Nassif, managing director, Renault India told HT. “We cannot rule out the possibility forever within the alliance but this will certainly not happen within the immediate time frame of at least an year. Even if this happens the products will be branded and sold separately with their own distinct identities.”

The two share synergies like manufacturing and sourcing.

Nissan has lent its small car Micra and sedan Sunny with Renault. There is some apprehension though that Nissan with its wider sales and service network may end up damaging Renault’s prospects. Renault currently has 55 dealers around the country against Nissan’s 75.   

“We will need more products and it would be across segments.We are very interested in the SUV segment and have many options globally,” said Takayuki Ishida, managing director and CEO, Nissan India. “Duster has done very well in India and a vehicle based on it is definitely a prospect. We will look into that possibility (of borrowing it from Renault).”

Both companies have grown robustly this year so far. While Nissan sold over 18,000 cars logging a growth of 146%, Renault sold 7,696 cars from a mere 383 cars it sold during the same time last year. The latter’s surge was largely due to the Duster, which accounted for more than half of its tally.