Is Renault Duster the wrong SUV for India?

Posted on: Mar 15, 2011 - 8:30am IST

Earlier, we brought you a scoop about a mysterious SUV spotted on the GST road which leads to Renault-Nissan JV plant at Oragadam. We predicted that Renault is testing the Duster in India. Now, Overdrive magazine confirms that the Duster will make it to the Indian shores by early 2012.

Overdrive reports the Duster will be priced at about Rs 7 lakh for the 2WD version and Rs 9 lakh for the 4WD variant. This is a fantastic price tag for the 5 seater SUV. So would it be successful in India? We have our doubts.

Dacia Duster front left

• Firstly, it’s a 5 seater SUV and let’s not make any bones about it; apart from the Honda CRV and BMW X1, 5 seater SUVs don’t really rake in volumes in India. The Outlander, Yeti, Rio, X-trail, Vitara – they all tell us the same tale.

• Although the Duster is fantastically priced at 9 lakhs for the top end variant, the price tag puts it in direct competition with the Scorpio, which according to our comparo is the second best selling SUV in India and has 2 extra seats.

Dacia Duster front

• The range of MPVs in that segment such as Sumo, Bolero, Innova, Xylo, soon-to-come Tavera will also give a tough fight for the Duster. The only to way to differentiate the Duster will be to market it as a ‘niche’ product. But the price tag suggest otherwise.

• The competition coming from Force Motors with its 10 lakh SUV and Tata Motors’ new Safari Merlin will be too hot for this baby SUV to handle.

• The Duster is not a hardcore off roader. It is always marketed as urban run-around for people to go to their office and occasionally take a long road trip on weekend. So clearly, it cannot enter into battle with the Mahindra Thar or Maruti’s new Gypsy.

Dacia Duster luggage

But there a few things going for the baby SUV as well:

• Firstly, it has a diesel engine, a 1.5L dCI from Nissan to be precise. Honestly, with sky rocketing petrol prices, any company that launches a petrol SUV should be sued 😉

• Secondly, ‘technically’ there is no baby SUV in that price range. So for someone who enjoys an elevated ride height, travels on a rough terrain often, but only needs 5 seats, the Duster is a very ideal SUV. It may not sell volumes but can be the ‘brand builder’ for Renault.

• Finally, according to international automotive press, the refinement, build quality, and NVH levels of this SUV are exceptional. It will certainly create a niche segment for itself just the way the Skoda Yeti, BMW X1 and Honda Jazz have done for themselves.

What are you opinions about this SUV? Does it make sense to launch it in India? The comments section awaits you

Next would you like to read more about the , , , or more about Renault?

113 thoughts on “Is Renault Duster the wrong SUV for India?

  1. dr nishu says:

    With its Road Presence, Compact Dimensions(yes, both in a same car), Quality & Rock-Solid French engineering this SUV would create a world of its own here.
    Such a good looking & Muscular 4×2 SUV for around 7 lacs INR in 2012,
    i’ll definitely going to buy this then.

  2. MaN says:

    Hi Shindhe,
    Is it too much of thinking on any product even before seeing it? I don’t think all the time all SUV’s are needed to be 7 seaters. What importantly people look in any vehicle is, what they get back in return to their money….

    Should I say it as PRACTICALITY..!
    What best way you can use the vehicle, trouble free service by the vehicle and service centre, fuel efficiency, cost of ownership always drive the volumes….not the quantity of people it carries. In such a case people would have been opted for buses which cost less than a good car.

  3. vivek james says:

    its going to be a super hit if the price is kept untouched. India is very much price sensitive. The Outlander, Yeti, , X-trail, Vitara , BMW X1 are 20+ lak SUV s. Rio is Chinese car from a grandfather company(Premier). look at this car its masculine, lot of attitude in its design. instead of going for an entry level diesel sedan it would attract more people towards it. Swift Dezier , Tata Manza are its rivals. and you know how much the diesel Swift Dezire is popular. its the suv for mass.

  4. @sivakd says:

    and who would put a 4×4 on a 7 seater? only crazy guys like Tata. Family SUV like Xylo does not as much as Scorpio, Xylo numbers are always lower than Scorpio. 5 Seater is apt with apt pricing!!

  5. @sivakd says:

    if the petrol variant is priced around 7 lakhs, it would be successful. I would prefer this for a Ford fiesta or Verna or Linea..

    1. vyan says:

      duster is being launched only in diesel variant in India…as of now…

  6. Rajesh says:

    I am waiting for such a product in the affordable price segment for a long time. Today families are nucleus. Not everyone needs large number of seating capacity. This product would have it’s own customers.

  7. Manjunath V says:

    Since boot is large enough, it can accommodate 2 child seats in the boot (i.e. 3rd row) and still you have space in boot for luggage, typical Indian mentality


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About the Author
Kaustubh Shinde

They say sooner or later your passion finds you. Sometime in late 2009, I started writing for IAB and ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride for me. An amazing experience that has taught me a lot, taken me to new places, driven some great cars and met some amazing people. When you don't find me on IAB (very rarely), you will find me either at a coffee shop or an eatery or at the nearest gadget store.Hope you enjoy IAB as much as we do!