Exciting news comes our way from the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS 2013) in the form of a car based on the Renault Duster. Renault South Africa has taken the covers off a concept car called the Renault Duster Detour, a sibling to the Duster launched in South Africa this past month. What makes this news doubly special for the Indian scene is that the car was exported from Renault’s Chennai plant, the only manufacturing facility in the world producing the car in RHD spec.
The Detour, which can be described as a “loose cannon” alternative to the Duster, was designed jointly by Renault’s European design team and an independent design firm based out of Johannesburg, South Africa. Currently, there have been no announcements of a production version being in the works. However, if the reception is warm, we will see a variant of the car available at showrooms. If this is how things turn, an India launch is very likely as the production plant is right here in Chennai.
The front of the car has been redesigned to feature multi-pod headlights which house running lamps, a twin-slab radiator grille in matte black and a nudge bar. The monstrous body is placed atop 18 inch, all terrain black tyres painted a dual-tone Yellow-Gray. In the rear, we have LED headlights, dual exhaust outlets, a diffuser and a roof spoiler.
Since the concept is a show, the mechanical features remain unchanged. The modifications will therefore be introduced in a 1.5 litre diesel engine or 1.6 litre petrol engined 104 PS version.
Renault set up its 4500 Crore manufacturing plant at Oragadam near Chennai in conjunction with Nissan Motor Company. The plant is a facility used by both automobile manufacturers. Renault’s first Indian launch, which was born out of a partnership with Mahindra, was the Logan, a blockbuster flop. After breaking away from its Indian partner, Renault launched a number of cars in an attempt to regain its image in the country. This included the Fluence and Koleos. The Duster was Renault’s first real volume driving release and the car managed to run away with a 23% market share in the year of its launch. The success of the Duster can be chalked up to the fact that it filled a gap that was present in the Indian SUV scene. There were the premier cars priced over 20 lakh and a few in the 6-10 lakh range from Indian makers. Renault seized the opportunity and put out the Duster, cutting right through that pricing range. It is certain that Renault has managed to create a raving fan base in India since that point.
Images via: WorldCarFans.com