Renault is all set to gain a foothold in the entry-level hatchback segment in India as it unveiled its new ‘global small car’ dubbed Kwid, at an event in Chennai. Slated to be launched around or before the festive season in 2015, the new ‘cross’ hatchback is described as a game-changing product that will offer ‘unprecedented features’ in its segment.
Based on the KWID concept that was showcased in 2014, the new hatchback is developed using Renault-Nissan alliance’s CMF-A (Common Module Family-Affordable) architecture. The platform is designed to adapt a number of modifications for various models thereby resulting in significant cost savings.
With the Kwid, Renault has taken a completely different approach with the design. In fact, it has reinvented it! The new car is more of a crossover than a normal hatchback in appearance. It sports SUV-inspired styling cues like plastic body cladding, aggressive front bumper, wide-body design and a ground-clearance of 180mm. The design is neat and the Kwid looks immensely attractive for its segment, it has to be said. Considering the fact that Renault plans to price it aggressively ‘between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 4 lakh’ in our market, the new hatchback will find many takers for its rugged looks alone!
However, the Renault Kwid is not a half-hearted attempt that aims at raking volumes based on the car’s outer appearance. On the inside, the cabin of the car features segment-first features like a digital instrument cluster and a 7.0-inch central infotainment screen that will come with a navigation system. Measuring in at 3.6 meters in length, the Kwid is said to offer the best-in-class boot and interior space; 5 people can haul together comfortably in the Kwid, Renault claims.
On mechanical front, the Renault Kwid will be initially offered with only one petrol engine. Like most of the cars in its segment, the Kwid will come powered by a new 800cc, three-cylinder, 4-valve petrol unit that is claimed to be extremely fuel efficient. Mated to a new five-speed manual transmission, the engine will incorporate ‘very simple technology’, the company claims.
At a later stage, Renault Kwid may get a powerful 1.0-litre petrol unit along with an AMT (automated manual transmission) to take on the Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 AMT. A diesel may be a possibility in the future, but Renault says it isn’t in the pipeline at the moment.
Renault will launch the Kwid for the Indian market at first, following which it could also be exported to other emerging markets such as China, Brazil, Russia etc. However, at present, the Kwid will be singlehandedly aimed for the Indian masses. The company will produce the Kwid at the Renault-Nissan’s joint manufacturing facility in Chennai. Also, 98 per cent of the parts localization will be achieved from the beginning of the new car’s production so as to keep the overheads in check. Concurrently, this will also help Renault to price the Kwid more aggressively against some of its established rivals.
Renault is targeting a market share of 5 per cent in the Indian car market in the coming time. As a result, the company banks heavily on the Kwid and believes it will be instrumental in achieving the set target.
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