The diesel version is priced at Rs.12.99 lakh, ex-Chennai

For the first time in the Indian market-place, a vehicle maker has priced the diesel version of its new car lower than the petrol one.

Renault, which split from the Mahindras to take a solo drive on the Indian roads, has decided to price the diesel version of its luxury sedan Fluence at Rs.12.99 lakh (ex-showroom Chennai). The petrol version of Fluence, however, is priced at Rs.14.40 lakh.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Sudhir Rao, Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Country Managing Director of Renault Group, said the pricing strategy was arrived at after taking a closer look at the customer profile of car owners. Diesel car owners, he said, always focussed on the cost of ownership and lower operating cost. The petrol car buyers, however, looked for comfort and, hence, were willing to pay more for additional features.

The petrol version of Fluence would come with a two litre-engine and comprise CVT (automatic) gear box. The diesel version would have a 1.5 litre engine.

Mr. Rao said Fluence would have very little local content at the moment. He was not willing to hazard any guess on how much Renault would increase the local content in Fluence and how soon.

He was addressing the media after the launch of Fluence and inauguration of the first exclusive Renault dealership in the city, Renault Mount Road.

Marc Nassif, Managing Director, Renault India, said, “It is a proud moment for us at Renault India to launch not only the Renault Fluence, our first built-in-India car, but also to introduce the Renault brand to our Indian customers”. India, he said, was one of the three key countries in Renault's international development strategy. The other two were Brazil and Russia, he added.

Fluence is the first Renault car to be produced at the company's state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Oragadam, near here. Mr. Rao was confident that Fluence would capture a significant share of the luxury sedan market in Chennai. “We will start with 14 dealers across the country, ramp up to 40 dealers by the end of this year,” he added. Renault would have a full range of five cars and 100 dealerships by December 2012, he added. Renault had already announced that it would also launch Koleos (4X4 sports utility vehicle) this year. Further, it planned to come out with three more cars in 2012, including a small hatch-back.