► First pictures of new Renault Kwid
► Baby crossover/hatch for emerging markets
► Not destined for European sales
Renault has unveiled the Kwid, a tallboy crossover/hatchback mash-up for international sales. It's aimed at sale in markets such as India and is not destined for sale in Europe, where it would risk cannibalising sales of products like the Captur.
This is like a Renault version of the Duster: an SUV-inspired hatchback or Clio on stilts, if you will. It's certainly bijou: at 3680mm long and 1580mm wide, it's much closer in size to a Renault Twingo and substantially shorter than a Clio or Captur.
Sales are earmarked to start in India in the second half of 2015, priced from around 3-4 lakhs (from £3000).
Renault Kwid: the specs
The Kwid is a clever package at first glance; buyers in emerging markets desire the toughness of an SUV over the simplicity of products such as the Tata Nano, the groundbreaking one-lakh (100,000 rupee) car which failed to shake up the Indian market as Ratan Tata had hoped.
Despite its small footprint, the Kwid has some rough-'n'-tumble potential, with 180mm of ground clearance for maintaining progress on rougher roads. It's based on the group's new global small-car platform called CMF-A and 98% of components are sourced locally in India.
Arnaud Deboeuf, senior vice-president of Renault-Nissan, explained the thinking behind the new architecture. 'The CMF-A platform opens up new horizons in terms of our ability to satisfy and even exceed the expectations of customers in countries where demand is currently highest, particularly those customers buying a vehicle for the first time. These influential consumers do not want a car that was initially designed for mature markets before becoming outdated. They aspire – and rightly so – to a modern, robust, elegant car at a price that represents a mini- revolution for such a remarkable vehicle.'
Aspiring customers will be able to spend more than £3000 on their Kwid, as Renault is offering niceties such as sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity and seven-inch touchscreens. Yes, the capitalist options ladder is alive and well even in emerging markets, as car makers demonstrate their ability to extract cash from wallets.
'With Kwid, Renault continues to pursue its strategy of accessible mobility for all to step up its international growth,' said Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn. 'Using a new Renault-Nissan Alliance platform and following the trail blazed by the Duster, the Kwid will enable Renault to continue its expansion and address the needs of customers who want a vehicle that is stylish, robust and easy to use.'
There's a clear shift happening at Renault; in 2010, only 37% of its cars were sold outside Europe. Today 46% of its sales are not in the EU.