Renault Might Not Launch Next-Gen Duster In India
Renault rethinks its plans to introduce the third generation of the compact SUV in India. The Renault Duster nameplate has been responsible for building the brand in India
In what could be a shocking development, the next-generation Renault Duster compact SUV now may not come to India. It was expected to have a big-bang global debut in early 2023. Big changes at Renault, under new global leadership, have seen a strategy shift within the headquarters, with respect to India. Under then CEO Thierry Bolloré, Renault had taken a decision in 2019 that the second-generation car will skip India. But the third generation was to have India at its centre, with the country being assigned lead market status for the development of the Renault Duster. In past, Eastern Europe and Brazil had played a greater role in the development of the Dacia Duster – which is the same car rebadged as Renault Duster in many global markets.
Fabrice Cambolive, Senior Vice President, Brand Sales and Operations for Renault said, “What we decided in India is to launch step by step – all the models. And that is how we will succeed in upgrading our offer. That is what we did, after Duster, after Kwid, after Triber, now we are launching Kiger, and of course, depending on its success and depending on our capacity, to adjust our risk on the market, we will study the renewal of the Duster.”
Cambolive shared that when current global CEO, Luca de Meo took charge at Renault in mid-2020, he asked his teams to reduce exposure to risk. It was also a time the company had to rapidly re-evolve its global EV (electric vehicle) plan too. The third-generation Renault Duster for India appears to have been the collateral damage in this exercise.
This is rather unfortunate given the brand’s popularity and once-dominant position in India. After pretty much establishing the segment in 2012, Renault has steadily lost ground in the space to the likes of the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos. Since its launch, the Renault Duster has seen three big facelifts, and stretching the brand any further with the first generation car will prove increasingly difficult. The Duster has already sold well over 200,000 units in India and has been the nameplate responsible for building the brand here.
To be fair after diminishing prospects seen through 2017-2018, products like the Triber and Kiger have seen Renault go through a small resurgence. Adds Cambolive, “Up to now, with (our) actual range, we are the first European brand with a 4 per cent passenger car market share. (So) up to now it’s working, and if it works, we see a future but let’s do it step by step with control in terms of risk.” carandbike was the first to have told you exclusively about Renault’s Duster strategy.
And this reporter had followed that up with another exclusive on how the Duster (like all Renault models) will go petrol-only in the future. While we have seen the introduction of the turbo-petrol powertrain across several Renault (and Nissan) models, our wait for the next Duster might just get longer. carandbike has reached out to Renault India on whether this Duster rethink could hurt its strategy in the country. We await a response from the French carmaker’s India management on the same.