Renault is developing a new small car that is expected to be its new entry level car in India. This new Renault car is expected to be powered by a 800cc engine that can deliver a mileage of 20kmpl. The car is being developed under the project name A Entry by a team lead by Gerard Detourbet.
Renault's 800cc car is expected to pose a challenge to the Maruti Suzuki Alto, India's best selling car. The 800cc car segment had remained a Maruti Suzuki bastion with the Alto and the Maruti 800 dominating the segment.
But more and more carmakers have shown interest in the low cost entry level segment. Hyundai Motors has already launched its 800cc car, the Eon. General Motors launched its own version in the form of the Spark.
Renault joining the 800cc car race is not surprising as this segment takes about 40 to 45 per cent of the Indian car market. Renault's new 800cc car is expected to be built at the company's plant near Chennai and the first prototype could be on the road by 2014-15.
Renault has shifted some of its focus from its home market of Europe to emerging markets. The French carmaker which has seen its sales slump in Europe due to the economic crisis now derives more than half of its sales from outside Europe. It is looking at markets like India to provide it the cushion it badly needs to protect itself from the European down turn.
The Renault 800cc car is hence being developed considering the requirements of the emerging markets. The carmaker is aiming at a mileage figure of 24kmpl to 26kmpl which it hopes will mean a mileage of at least 20kmpl on regular driving conditions.
Renault has several small cars in its line-up in Europe but none of them would be as inexpensive as Indian cars. Hence it has decided to develop a car from the ground up. Renault had initially considered the small car project by Bajaj Auto but has since then moved on to its own project.
Renault's new 800cc car will not only be a Renault but a Nissan too. Both Renault and Nissan share their models and built them in the same plant in Chennai. The Nissan Micra and Sunny are Renault Pulse and soon to be launched Scala. Nissan will also be using the small car platform to design its own version of the 800cc car.
The Maruti Suzuki Alto as we all know is set to be refreshed with anew model. The arrival of more models in this segment will provide car buyers a wider choice.