Renault India starts three shifts to meet the big demand for the Duster SUV, which bags 15,000 bookings
Nothing succeeds like success, or for Renault India, like the Duster SUV. Ever since the launch of this SUV a couple of months ago, the French automaker’s fortunes in India has been on the upswing. The 2012 Duster SUV has managed to clock in 15,000 bookings, which at a time when the Indian car market is embattled by a sales slowdown, is pretty remarkable, more so for a brand that remains relatively obscure in India. The Duster SUV promises to make Renault a household name, or atleast the initial momentum seems to suggest so.
To meet the growing demand for the Duster and to get a handle on the long waiting periods, Renault India has decided to start the third shift at the Renault-Nissan production unit at Oragadam, off Chennai, which the French automaker shares with its Japanese alliance partner Nissan. The Indian-made Duster is also being exported to the UK market currently. Though an early mover, the Duster will see some stiff competition in the coming months, as Mahindra will launch the Quanto compact SUV on the 20th of September, with Ford also firming up plans to launch the EcoSport compact crossover in early 2013 or perhaps even before that.
The Duster SUV sold in India comes in both petrol and diesel engined guises. While the petrol engine is a 1.5 Liter, 100 PS unit, mainly present as an additional low volume variant for select buyers, the real volumes come from the diesel engined Duster. The diesel variant of the Duster is fitted with a 1.5 Liter K9K turbo diesel engine, that is available in two states of tune, 85 Bhp-200 Nm and 110 PS-250 Nm. While the 85 PS diesel engine is known for its turbo lag free demeanour, the 110 PS engine, ostensibly is the more punchier of the two, reveling on the highway with the additional cog of the 6 speed gearbox making a big difference to relaxed highway cruising.
The lower spec petrol and diesel engines however, will have to make do with the five speed gearbox. However, the India-spec Duster is only available in front wheel drive variants while many international markets get a four wheel drive variant. The Duster, which features a monocoque construction, comes with exemplary ride quality as one of its distinguishing features, something that Indians will particularly enjoy given the moonscape like surface that roads in many parts of India are still notorious for. The Duster is priced at ex-showroom prices that average between INR 7.29 and 11.46 lakhs.