Renault Kwid Easy-R AMT: Can It Beat the Maruti Suzuki Alto K10?
Renault Kwid. (Image Courtesy: Renault India)
When you think hatchbacks in India then chances are that the first brand that will come to your mind is Maruti Suzuki, because it has been holding its spot as the market leader in this segment for ages. The company’s most successful offering in the segment is the Alto, which was challenged by many offerings from various manufacturers over the years, but the Alto stood its ground.
It’s only real challenge has been the Renault Kwid, and rightly so, because the Kwid offered technology, features and looks at a price rate that was unimaginable before the car was launched. It also became a boon for Renault, as the company has sold over 75,000 units of the Kwid since its launch last year.
Building upon the momentum that the Kwid had gathered, the French automaker showcased several variants of the car at the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo held in February. Out of which, there were two variants that got everyone talking – the 1.0-litre offering and the one with an AMT gearbox.
The 1.0-litre engine variant was launched in August at a price of Rs 3.82 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi) christened – Kwid SCe. Now, the company is on its way to launch the AMT version called the Kwid Easy-R.
These offerings make complete sense as for those who wanted a bit more power out of the Kwid 800 have a variant that’s giving them just that and the AMT variant, or the Easy-R, will attract those who want an affordable hatchback that spares them from the hassle that comes with a clutch lever.
Notice a pattern here?
This is exactly the same route Maruti Suzuki had undertaken with the Alto, which later got a 1.0-litre engine capacity variant in the form of the Alto K10 and then, was offered with an optional AMT gearbox, called – Alto K10 AGS. And that’s not it, Maruti Suzuki as always, managed to price it aggressively at a price tag of Rs 4.05 lakhs (ex-showroom, Delhi). We had reviewed the car and found that it was the best value for money AMT hatchback in India.
Not only is the Alto K10 AGS a fantastic car, it is backed by the widest dealership and service network presently in India. Add to that the easy availability of parts, low maintenance cost and low cost of everyday running and the K10 becomes a complete package.
Don’t get us wrong, though, the Kwid is a fantastic product that offers great value for money and sure, it looks better than the K10, and following the Alto's strategy makes sense as the target customer is same, but the real competition here is not the product, but the service that you get with it once it has been purchased by you. And once you are done with it, you would want the car to fetch a good resale value too, and the Alto will fetch you the price of a base model Kwid anyways.
Renault is expected to offer the AMT gearbox option in the top-end RXT variant which is currently priced at Rs 3.57 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The addition of the AMT gearbox means a jump in the price of Rs 40,000 – Rs 50,000, taking the overall price of the car to over Rs 4 lakhs.
Given the number of features that the Kwid is loaded with, it is breathing down the neck of Alto K10 AGS. It all comes down to the pricing, as that’s the company’s best bet (and only bet) to make the Easy-R a better package than the Alto K10.
Will it be a success? Only time will tell. For now, the winner is the potential customer who is looking to buy their first car as the intense competition, only makes everything better.