Ghosn wants Kwid momentum to continue

Murali Gopalan | | Updated on: Jan 22, 2018


Renault CEO says the key is to grow market share for this compact car

Carlos Ghosn is more than pleased with the way Indian consumers have responded to Renault’s Kwid compact car. Bookings crossed the 25,000 mark within a fortnight of its launch in end-September and have reportedly doubled since then.

“I am delighted with customer response to the Kwid and just want our team to transform it into market share. For the moment, the orders are very strong and bookings good. Now we need to translate this into happy customers for the future,” said the Chairman & CEO of Renault-Nissan at a dinner session hosted here on Tuesday.

Ghosn spent nearly 10 minutes apiece with groups of journalists from different parts of the world. At a time the global automobile market is still coping with the reality of China slowing down coupled with the fragility of Russia and Brazil, Indians emerged the relatively bright star on the horizon. In this backdrop, the success of the Kwid becomes even more critical to the French carmaker.

From the Renault-Nissan alliance’s point of view too, big numbers for the car would be welcome news as plant capacity in Chennai would be optimised better beyond the current levels. The task on hand, as Ghosn cautioned, is to keep the momentum intact and ensure that the Kwid continues to grow from strength to strength.

Maruti dominates the compact car space in India and Renault will be hoping that the Kwid emerges as a serious rival in the coming months. At an ex-showroom price starting at Rs 2.57 lakh, it has the potential to create a strong connect with customers across every nook and corner of the country. It is precisely for this reason that Renault is keen on growing its retail presence aggressively across India’s Tier-2 and 3 regions.

Ghosn, likewise, is betting big on the company’s prospects in China too where it is making an entry in partnership with Dongfeng. As he said during the chat session with a team of Indian and Chinese journalists, the platform on which Renault cars are built is common to Nissan which only means “we do not have to reinvent the wheel”.

The French carmaker is starting with high levels of localisation in China with suppliers in place along, of course, with the bigger advantage of sharing common parts with Nissan. According to Ghosn, knowledge of China and market intelligence is “high for Renault” despite being a newcomer.

This is largely thanks to the fact that it is coming on the back of an ally like Nissan which, in turn, is estimated to sell over one million cars in China this calendar. “This is why I believe the alliance is helpful in this case for Renault inChina,” he said.

China is clearly important to the alliance by virtue of the fact that it is the largest car market in the world. “This means a continuous growth of Nissan and also a significant presence of Renault in China. You can expect a lot of innovation and new products going forward,” said Ghosn.

On the Volkswagen emissions scam which has been regularly hitting the headlines, he said there some “suspicion at the beginning” that these kinds of practices were widespread across the industry. In this context, it was but natural to expect a “greater degree of examination and surveys” with every carmaker likely to be scrutinised.

Yet, Ghosn maintained he was not deterred by these prospects. “We have said very clearly both for Renault and Nissan that we do not have these kinds of devices or practices,” he reiterated.

The writer is in Tokyo on an invitation from Nissan

Published on October 28, 2015
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