Renault aired a couple of images of the Duster which we featured earlier in the week from Buenos Aires Motor Show at the Delhi press conference on Tuesday.
Like IAB suspected, the same model, customized and tweaked for India, will be locally manufactured and introduced in the second half of 2012. The Duster will be manufactured alongside Nissan products at Renault Nissan alliance' Oragadam plant near Chennai. Renault officials mentioned that the Duster was a huge success in Europe and one could buy two Dusters for the price of one VW Tiguan. The updated Duster will also be sold in Brazil and Mexico this year.
The Duster slated for India is likely to have 4X4 on the top-end trim and best in class fuel economy, thanks to its kerb weight which is 300kg less than a comparable rival. The obvious choice for the Duster is the 1.5-liter (K9K) diesel engine borrowed from the Micra. This engine is also used on the Fluence. If it can be tuned to produce about 85bhp nothing better can provide the best balance of power and economy.
The quirky Duster is built on the Logan (Verito) platform and there could be export plans to UK which expects the Duster next year. Renault confirmed that only RHD version of the Duster will be made in Chennai. Renault India's top-level official told us that the HQ has asked them "to make a living out of India."
IAB expects Renault to make at least 25k Dusters in the first year of production and ship a good chunk of this number to overseas markets.
The Duster will not have any Dacia badges on its body. It will be marketed as a Renault product like the Logan and is expected to be priced under 10 lakh rupees. Along with the V-Platform hatch and the "surprise" sedan, the Duster will fill up the bottom half of the Renault India model portfolio.