Fabrice Cambolive, the chairman of Renault’s Africa-Middle-East-India region said the automaker’s India strategy will focus on fewer products and spend time building them as against “firing in multiple products” to shore up the market share in India.
“India is a very tough market and the company will have to build its presence step by step to make deeper inroads,” he said in a recent interview to ET.
Renault is challenged by declining volumes in India with average Kwid sales falling to 5,000-6,000 units a month, almost half from its peak of 10,000 units and the launch of new utility vehicles over the last couple of years such as Lodgy and Captur have failed to excite the market like Duster or Kwid did.
Over the last 14 months, the company has seen its volumes decline for 13 months in line with Kwid’s volumes. The newly launched Captur has failed to create excitement in India. Over the last six months, Renault has sold approximately 2,500 units of Captur which is equal to a week to 10 days’ sales of the segment leader Hyundai Creta.
After growing the volumes by 88% in FY17, the company saw its annual sales decline by 24.4% to 1 lakh units in FY18 in a market that grew 8%. The company will be banking on interventions on the Kwid and the petrol variant of Captur to infuse some excitement in its product portfolio to keep the volumes above 1 lakh in FY19.
Cambolive said while the Duster and Kwid were segment breakers in the past and hence succeeded, it is not possible to bring in “pioneers” all the time and hence the company will have to keep on working on building “quality products and familiarity” for rest of the models in the portfolio to have a positive rub off.
“For me, India is a stress test, it is a very hard market, where we have to be the best on all parameters. We not only have to be patient, but we have to take time to push the product, and not fire away multiple products, because cost of awareness and familiarity is huge.”
Cambolive said it is not a surprise that India is a complicated market and that’s why Renault is present with local forces across sales and marketing, manufacturing, R&D to have a proper understanding of the market and it has helped the company so far.
He added that Renault in India is still only of five years, the company has to be modest and learn. “We are at the beginning of our journey. India is a strategic market for us, we expect the market to grow by 8-10%. Soon it will become third-largest car market in the world with 5 million units. India is not only a demanding location from a localisation standpoint, but it is also a good base to conceive, design, produce the car and act as a base to catch new trends for the future. Be it shared mobility or EVs,” said Cambolive.
Source: ET Auto