India-bound Renault Duster breaks cover

18/06/2011 - 08:36 | ,  ,  ,   | Shrawan Raja

We're used to calling the Duster as a Dacia SUV because Renault had not taken the effort to slap the silver diamond on the car.

That's going to change as Renault officially has its own version of the Duster expected in the middle of 2012 here in India. Sources in Renault India noted that none of their products will bear Dacia logos even if they are products picked from the Romanian company's model pool. The model you see here will be the car landing in India.

Renault Duster rearRenault Duster front

The Renault Duster will be officially launched at the Auto Show in Buenos Aires this month and differences are both to the exterior and interior. The car gets a completely new face soaked in chrome. South American customers will be able to order wheels painted gray. Interiors are constructed using improved material according to the car manufacturer. The center console has been redesigned is different to the model sold in Europe.

In South America the Renault Duster will have two engines, both having capacity to operate on alternate fuels, much in demand in Brazil. The 1.6 16V and 2.0 16V will be on sale, the former will have an optional automatic transmission listed while the latter is available with 4WD. These two engines will not be suitable for the SUV market in India. The 1.5-liter diesel engine (K9K) from Nissan Micra is the obvious choice, making about 85bhp.

Renault will manufacture the Duster at the Renault-Nissan JV Oragadam plant and leaving out powertrain components, everything else is likely to be sourced locally. Exports could be part of the plan and RHD markets could be on the radar first. The question is will Renault split the output into two equal halves or will they mark the majority of the production for India. The Duster, if priced between 8-10 lakh rupees, will draw heavy crowds into Renault showrooms.

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