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Renault in second coming with premium launch

autos Updated: May 23, 2011 21:04 IST
HT Correspondent

After the failure of the Logan, launched in a joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra proved to be an unsavoury experience that ended last year, French car maker Renault is ready for a second coming.

The company, part of the world’s third-largest automobile manufacturer, launched a premium mid-size car Fluence in India on Monday, which will be quickly followed by four more models including a SUV Koleos and a “made for India” small car, by the end of next year. Priced between R13.0 lakh (ex showroom for diesel) and R14.4 lakh (ex showroom petrol), Fluence will compete directly with the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla Altis, VW Jetta and Chevrolet Cruze.

“We believe it is a fresh start for us and courtesy Logan, we are fully prepared and know this market a lot better,” said Marc Nassif, managing director, Renault India. “Logan did not deliver in terms of sales figure and profitability and that is obvious but the learning curve has been steep and the results of it would be visible in Fluence and all our future products.”

Thanks to the global meltdown, Renault’s India plans were further delayed by two years. To make up for the same, the company has set steep targets. It plans 100 dealerships in the country from the present 14 and has set a goal of selling 100,000 cars by the end of next year.

If Renault manages that, it would be a virtual jumpstart for the French carmaker specially after the Logan debacle. Only five out of 19 companies in India sell over 100,000 units every year and GM achieved that feat only last year, 16 years after it first set up operations here.

Many global heavyweights like Toyota, Honda Fiat and Ford, despite their over decade long presence in the country have still not been able to do that.

“Speed is what will differentiate us and having failed once (with Logan) success is the only option,” said Sudhir Rao, deputy managing director, Renault India.