MUMBAI: Renault India has decided to push its much awaited small SUV launch plans to early 2021 due to sustained supply chain disruption.
The French carmaker was compelled to recalibrate its plan to launch the SUV post the upcoming festive season due to stop-go supplies from its vendors on account of the lockdown and intermittent eruption of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Venkatram Mamillapalle, MD of Renault India said, “My product is ready; if not for disruptions in both demand and supply, we would have caught this festive season. I have been in touch with my vendor partners for the last 20 days and we are trying to sort out the issues. The recovery has been faster than expected and hence we expect the Triber and Kwid to help us in reviving our lost volumes.”
As per the new plan, Renault is likely to unveil the concept version of the SUV in November-December, before commercially rolling it out in early Q1 2021. The company may also use the occasion to christen the small SUV, which many speculate as Kiger.
Renault India is expected to report sales of 49,000 units in the first nine months of this calendar, 10% less than a year-ago period’s 54,500 unit sales. This will lead to an increase in its market share as the overall passenger vehicle market is estimated to have declined about 36% during the same period, industry insiders said.
Renault’s decline in sales so far in 2020 is much lower than 30% that the company forecasted in the midst of the national lockdown. The French car maker was the only carmaker to register a growth in sales in 2019 and it is hoping to grow market share or retain at least 3% market share in 2020.
Mamillapalle said it is difficult to predict the growth/degrowth for the year. “I expect the market size for 2020 to be not more than 2.3 million,” he said. “My target is to hold on to 3% market share if not grow it. The total industry volume has picked up momentum in recent months. We expect the sales volume to sustain in October and November, but what happens after that is anyone’s guess.”
The company said there is a stronger traction in entry-level and rural markets, which is a big focus for Renault. The share of rural markets has gone up from 15-16% last year to 25% of its total sales so far this calendar year.
The company added 40 new stores in the hinterlands between June to September and the addition of new outlets is expected to continue for the rest of the year.
Sustained demand for its Triber MPV and Kwid hatchback post Covid-19 outbreak has given Renault some breathing space to advance the launch of its small SUV to 2021, so that it can make the most of demand recovery with a hope that the pandemic situation eases by then.
“While Triber and Kwid will capitalise on the current festive season, I want to ensure that the small SUV is adequately available across outlets and be ready for new year festivities of 2021 across states,” Mamillapalle said.