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by Tim Beissmann

Renault’s expansion into the booming automotive market of India is set to be a gradual and progressive one, with five new models scheduled to be launched over the next five years.

The Fluence sedan will lead the charge when it arrives in around 12 months and will be joined at the top of the range by the Koleos SUV six months later.

Before then however, Renault India general manager, Marc Nassif, admitted that establishing a strong dealer network was “the most important thing” for the brand to achieve.

The French manufacturer does not have a single dealer in India at the moment, but plans to have at least 70 within three to four years.

“We have been pleasantly surprised with the interest in Renault from the dealer community,” Mr Nassif told Autocar India, after receiving more than 300 dealership applications.

Due later in 2012 is an all-new small hatch based on the V-platform, which is shared with the Nissan Micra.

It is also expected that the ULC (short for “ultra-low-cost”) vehicle to be co-developed by Renault and Indian manufacturer Bajaj Auto will be badged as a Renault and become one of these five new vehicles. The ULC will be packaged and priced to compete directly with the Tata Nano and will be built from 2012 in Chakan, India, at a rate of 400,000 per year.

Other models reportedly being considered include the Dacia Duster SUV and the current model Renault Clio, which could be assembled in India with the tooling shipped out of Europe once the car is phased out.

(with Autocar India)




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