Mark Nassif is defensive of Renault’s performance in the Indian market so far and believes that the company can sustainably improve its market share

After launching the Fluence and Koleos in quick succession, you are ready to launch Pulse for the Indian consumer. What makes India and the small car segment so important for Renault at the moment?
Have you ever heard of a brand in India that has launched five new cars in a period of 16 months? Not only that, we will be taking our dealer network to 100 by the end of 2012 and have over 2,500 engineers working in alliance with Nissan. India is one of the three key countries for Renault along with Brazil and Russia. After having established the Renault DNA with products like the Fluence and the Koleos, we will now launch the Pulse in January next year, which will enable us to reach a much wider segment of customers. The Pulse carries forward the Renault DNA of safety, quality and innovation and we are sure that customers will like this premium compact, which combines all the luxuries of a bigger sedan with the economy of a small compact. With Pulse, we are not only adding a new product to our product portfolio, but we are also growing our sales and service network to address the needs of our customers.

Considering the potential of the Indian market, the response to Renault products has been below the expectations of many experts. Do you believe that the Pulse will buck the trend in the coming times?
The best judge of this is the customer. We are very satisfied with the kind of response our products have got so far. We don’t pretend to flood the market. We are working on building the brand. Our focus is to create a pool of satisfied consumers. We want to be visible and the Pulse will help us create trust with the consumer. In fact, it will also provide the kind of volumes that are very important for our dealer family to sustain and grow. We are committed to deliver a high-quality product and are not ready to sacrifice quality for volume. For instance, we will be giving an option to buy an extended warranty with the product as we believe it has value.

Nissan and Renault have followed a similar top-down strategy in India so far. How aligned and how different are your Indian operations?
Both the companies are independent in terms of what product they want to take to the market and then there are opportunities. For instance, if we think that the V-platform is interesting, we have an option to use it in our product. We are working together to bring flexibility into our operations. But in term of brands, we don’t belong to each other and both brands are totally independent.

After your plans of expanding your product portfolio and the dealer network are in place, what kind of volumes are you expecting from the Indian market?
We are confident that after our five products are launched and 100 dealers are operational, it should not take much time to sell 1,00,000 cars in a year. Now I don’t know whether it will be in 2013 or 2014 as it will depend on consumer response, overall market situation, et al, but this is the kind of response we are looking at. In fact, we want to become one of the three largest selling foreign brands in the market by 2015. And we just don’t measure success by numbers as a lot is dependent on the kind of service that a company offers, which is very important to make the overall experience delightful. As per our research, we have been growing both in terms of visibility and recall in the Indian market and we are confident that we will meet our targets well in time.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2011.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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