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Renault to widen India network to meet demand for Kwid

Mumbai: Renault India will be opening 30 more dealerships by December, taking their number to 270 as against the earlier plan of 240, to meet growing demand for flagship entry-level car Kwid that has become a runaway success for the French auto major.

The largest European carmaker in the country also hopes to close the year with over 5 per cent market share, up from 4.5 per cent as of end June and 1.5 per cent prior to the launch of the Kwid 10 months ago.

“I don’t see any chance of the entry-level car segment saturating anytime soon. With 24 per cent of the total market, this still is the largest market and in this segment we are among the top three players for the past seven months, consistently grossing up over 7,000 units every month.

For the past two months, we are grossing up 9,000 each.

“And to our pleasant surprise a lot of demand is coming from tier III & IV markets. To meet this, we’ve reworked our market strategy to open 30 more dealerships by December, which will take our total network to 270 this year (up from 240 planned earlier). In fact, as per our 2014 plan, we were to have only 280 by December 2017,” Renault India Chief Executive Sumit Sawhney told a select group of reporters in Mumbai.

He said the company ended 2015 with 205 dealerships and today the number is 220.

“As much as 70 per cent of the planned 65 new outlets will come up in small towns.”

In July, Renault reported a 610 per cent spike in sales at 11,968 units as against 1,686 units in same period in 2015, thanks to the Kwid.

Apart from the customer and dealer trust in brand Renault, his optimism comes from a host of external factors such as a favourable monsoons and resultant good festive sales, rising corporate profits and the 7th Pay Commission award, which will leave lots of money in the hands of the millions of Government employees.

Asked about the waiting period for the Kwid, he said it was around three months and added the company was selling an average of over 7,000 units every month. “We want to bring this down to one-month or so.”

Refuting criticism that Renault is a one-model wonder, after the tapering off of its first success story that the mid-level SUV Duster has become, he said, “I don’t think the Kwid is a one-time wonder nor we are a one-model car company.

“We’re among the top 3 in all the three segments that we operate in with Kwid for the entry level, Duster for the mid-segment SUV market and Lodgy in the MPV market. We’ve been selling over 7,000 Kwids for the past seven successive months, we’ve been selling over 2,000 Dusters since the past 30 months and 600 Lodgys now,” he said.