Bye Bye Lodgy, too bad we didn’t get to see more of you.
The Renault Lodgy MPV has been taken off the shelves in India as their sales have barely managed to keep the car in public sight since its launch. Among the primary reasons for such discouraging numbers were the constant rejection of diesel-run vehicles in the last year and the stricter-than-ever BSVI norms that have pushed it further. Many manufacturers have decided to end production of at-least one of their diesel-driven models to avoid the exceptionally high costs of the redevelopment of powertrains as per the new directives.
Confirming this news, Renault’s India head stated that the car had seen a steady decline in sales ever since its launch in 2015. Less than a thousand units had been sold over the last two years, and things were not very positive. The MPV was available in three variants – RxE, RxL and RxZ and was pitted against the segmented band between Maruti’s Ertiga, Honda Mobilio, Mahindra Marazzo and Toyota Innova Crysta.
Forfeiting their play in the diesel game
The clock is ticking and fast-approaching month of April is bringing with it, the end of the long reign of diesel engines. This has been a cause of concern for the entire industry as not just auto manufacturers, but every single entity connected to them will be affected in some significant way. It is essential to acknowledge and act on the fact that the future of diesel is not looking good, especially in the automotive sector. Governments are encouraging people toward greener alternatives, and it is important to stay a step ahead of the directives to be able to thrive.
Renault has dropped all plans of continuing their 1.5L K9K diesel engine, which was shared by an entire group of offerings by the company and its business counterpart Nissan, in India. It will be put out of commission by the end of March 2020.
It is undoubtedly a matter of concern for the company since almost half their cars being sold in India have been diesel-powered. This would affect their overall sales numbers by a considerable margin. However, they plan to focus on rebuilding their market share through the right flow of trends and needs rather than present it with extinction when the electrics take over.
Bound to this fate by their agreement on technology sharing, Nissan will also have to alter their line-up to suit the upcoming emission requirement norms and market trends. They will be taking similar steps for their India models such as Micra, Sunny, Terrano and Kicks.
Renault plans to introduce their BSVI compliant petrol offerings starting in January 2020. They also have in the pipeline, a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor which they will put in the Triber and a compact SUV which has been scheduled for a mid-2020 launch.
A brand-new compact SUV
The upcoming compact SUV has been codenamed “HBC”. It will challenge the likes of Hyundai Venue, Ford Ecosport, Maruti Vitara Brezza and the XUV300 in the immensely encouraging sub-4-metre segment of the Indian automobile market.
Based on the Triber’s platform and powered by the same engine, the HBC is expected to share the former’s gearbox options on a manual and an upcoming AMT automatic unit. Though it already has rivals in the market way before its launch, its aim is directed at the compact SUV being planned by Kia motors. The compact SUV from Renault will be a BSVI compliant vehicle from the very first day of its launch. As mentioned, the company is bringing in a new 1.0-litre petrol engine to be paired with a turbocharger for the HBC. The same engine will also be given to the Triber for better performance.
Contemplations for the HBC’s styling include soft-fillet rocky front fascia with a prominent grille, split-LED headlamps with daytime running lights. Skid plate, elevated ground clearance and proportionally-bigger tyres. The signature muscular shoulder line should provide an impressive stance to the compact SUV. Features will most probably include a centrally-mounted touchscreen infotainment system with round elements trimming the dashboard, LED-lit instrument cluster, dual-tone interiors and the new standard – Apple car play and Android Auto connectivity.
The car is expected to be priced in the competitively low band of INR 6-9 lakh (ex-showroom) when it hits the shelves. Till then, the company has a mighty task at hand to begin the first quarter of this year by pushing as many units as they can.
An attempt to ‘Captur’ the petrol compact SUV segment
Another matter of concern is the reduced sales graph of the company’s compact-SUV Captur since its launch the year before. Discontinuation is however not an option, and Renault will pursue selling the petrol variant of the car. They have also confirmed that starting 2020; all their models will only be available in petrol variants including the fore-mentioned Captur. They are pleased with the sales of the Kwid and the response that its new face-lifted model has got in the last few months.