Company Description: Renault
India is part of the €40 billion (2,65,700 crore) Renault Group that designs,
develops, manufactures and sells innovative, safe and environmentally-friendly
vehicles worldwide. It has a commercial presence in 118 countries, selling
vehicles under three brands – Renault, Dacia and Samsung. Renault also pursues
an Alliance with Nissan, created in 1999. The Renault-Nissan Alliance is the
fourth largest automotive group in the world, and aims to rank among the
world’s top three automotive groups for quality, technology and profitability.
Renault started its innings in India with a tie up with Mahindra and introduced
the Logan which is now rebadged as the Verito and is the property of Mahindras.
Renault’s tie-up with Mahindra is no more and the company operates as an
independent arm of Renault worldwide.
You have been in India for the last three years.
How has your experience been so far?
was in India in 2006 but have really settled in the last three years. It’s a
real start for Renault now. If you look back we are not sad or ashamed of what
we have done. Logan has been a fantastic experience and we have seen that
because of many reasons it could not be a pillar on which we could settle our
brand. So we decided what we have decided and it is a very conscious decision.
We are also glad that we still have very good relations with the Mahindras. But
all this is part of our foundation and we learnt a lot. We have some big plans
and have more than 2,000 engineers here in India and have our own design
studio. We also have an export centre in Pune. This exports parts and
components out of India. It’s a fresh start for a brand which has done a lot of
homework to learn a lot about this very complex and diverse country.
You mentioned at the launch of the Koleos that
“it’s not about flooding the market with cheap products”. Why are you averse to
a stripped down and more affordable version of the Koleos?
do things which are compatible with our DNA. We also do things which we think
are compatible to our brand positioning. We have in some countries entry, 4x2,
manual, petrol, no leather, etc. But we do not want that for India. That’s a
conscious decision. If there is a demand for a manual we shall bring one, but
not one that is a stripped down version. We got the AT because it’s like
delivering nice Indian silk. It’s delivering smoothness. That kind of customer
may be chauffer driven during the week, during the day, but in the evening he
may drive it himself and appreciate the AT. With the kind of traffic in the
cities, the AT is a plus. It delivers comfort and the motto of the car is
“Power, Luxury and Pleasure”.
You are planning to get into the B+ segment.
Will that be challenging?
This is why we are going to use a platform that is
already localised in India. That car will be based on the V platform which is
already massively localised in India. We are going to address that segment with
a design adapted to India. We have targeted that car for India and not other
countries outside India. You will see that in the January auto show. It’s round
The Logan in its new avatar Verito is doing
reasonably well. But has the development with Mahindras affected your brand
image in any way?
take a shortcut, I really do not know what the Mahindra Renault brand is. I
know what Mahindra brand is. I know what Renault brand is. It is part of the
lesson we learnt, part of our conscious decision we took to build our brand on
that. But having said that, if you ask any customer owning a Logan, whether it
is a taxi or owned by a private customer, they are delighted by the performance,
ride and the cost of maintenance. This is Renault DNA. One important thing was
missing. It was not attractive, it was not sexy. That is what the customer
said. That is why we brought in the Renault Fluence which is a very attractive
car. The Koleos is an attractive and handsome car. We do not want to forget
about the Logan because we are ashamed of it. Rather it is not the DNA we want
What about the Sandero? What was the controversy
about it with Hyundai?
Did you hear me talking about the Sandero? Sandero is a
name that belongs to Renault. Santro is a name that belongs to Hyundai. But we
do not have any plans to bring the car to India.
Peugeot Citroen is coming to India and many of
their suppliers too would be setting up base here in India. Since these
suppliers also cater to Renault back in France, do we see your company doings
some business with them?
We already have in India more than a 100 suppliers. Not
only are we sourcing parts for India but also are exporting parts out of India.
Last year we exported parts worth 30 million Euros. It should be around 60 to
70 million Euros this year. It will go
up to Euros 100 million next year. We already have our supplier base and we
want to extend that. We want to have more local content but we are already at
an acceptable level. We are happy to see more suppliers settling in India. It
would also bring more technology into India.
What is the core strength of the Nissan Renault
R&D centre in Chennai?
We have around 2,400 people working at this centre. It’s
huge and we have all kinds of skills. Big part of it is for out of India. The
core strengths are being leveraged globally. It’s good and working well for
Renault and Nissan.
What about the Renault design centre in Mumbai?
Will it be designing some of the vehicles that would be launched soon?
answer is ‘Yes’. Do not ask me more. We have 15 people there and for a hi-end
design centre like that 15 is a big number. Nobody has that kind of skills and
we started that four years ago. Already their skills have been in use in the
Fluence and the Koleos. It would be there in the hatch and Duster which we are
going to launch. The design is evident in what you find inside as well as
outside the car. The Duster will be a different one that would be sold here in
Formula One is round the corner. Your company is
thick into it. Is your company going to leverage that position here in India?
shall see that in the next coming weeks. In the past 20 years Renault has been
nine times world champions. The connect between Renault and Formula One is very
strong. We are supplying engines to three teams this year. This year too we
hope to be world champions. We shall be talking about it big time.
Any plans to make India an export hub for your
products? Any plans to bring in the Dacia brand?
It is already an
export hub for parts. Our CEO has mentioned that we have to make a living out
of India. We have to break even and we have to ramp up in terms of volumes. At
the end of next year we shall have five products and about a hundred outlets.
Beginning 2013 it would be full thrust in India. We would keep on ramping up.
As for the Dacia brand, there would be only one brand in India i.e.
Renault. The biggest satisfaction is to
see our customers 100pc satisfied. Our dealers, our customers and our employees
are our ambassadors.