Renault is considering its options to enter the Indian market, to start mass production in the country. India is believed to have a strong market base with higher growth from a small base. The automaker is pushing its electric vehicles goals, as it extends unresolved negotiations with its partner Nissan Motor.
The unresolved negotiations include about investing in an EV unit it plans to carve out from its other operations. It also points to the shifting perception of the auto market in India, which posted the fastest growth of any major market in 2022. EVs were on track to be less than 1% of car sales last year but the government has set a target of 30% by 2030 and has had recent success in attracting suppliers for international automakers, with a range of subsidies.
Renault is studying launching a made-in-India electric version of its Kwid hatchback. The review will assess potential demand, pricing, and the ability to build the EV with local components, said one of the people, adding that any launch would be late in 2024. The move is part of a broader plan by Renault to rekindle sales in a country where the carmaker remains profitable despite selling fewer cars in 2022 than a year earlier, the person said according to Reuters.
Renault India declined to comment on product plans but said the company has a “strong focus on electrification globally” as part of the strategy outlined by CEO Luca de Meo and that “India is one of the key markets” for the group. India is set to become the world’s third-largest market for passenger and other light vehicles, displacing Japan, according to a forecast by S&P Global Mobility. Industry-wide sales grew an estimated 23% to 4.4 million vehicles in 2022.
That is a contrast to the outlook for the United States, where the market is expected to remain below 2019 levels next year, and China, where demand is weakening. Renault had been hoping to reach with Nissan in December on the terms of a carve-out for its EV unit, but discussions have been slowed over concerns by the Japanese carmaker on a range of issues, including protection for its intellectual property.
“India will play an important role in future projects of Renault-Nissan but local plans will not be finalized before a global deal on a restructuring of the alliance is reached,” said one of the sources from Reuters. Renault already produces a version of the Kwid EV in China which is sold in that market as the City K-ZE and exported to France as the Dacia Spring. The Spring, the second most sold EV in France in 2022, has a range of 230 kilometers and a starting price of 20,800 euros ($21,869) before government incentives.