Renault will add an option of an AMT gearbox to the upcoming Duster facelift to broaden its appeal and boost sales. The launch is likely by the end of first quarter of 2016.
Renault was the first carmaker to tap into the market of compact SUVs in India with its Duster a few years ago. It got the first mover advantage and the car became a roaring success. Over the years, competition has caught up and now there are multiple options in the segment making the Duster a bit outdated and pricey. To work around this disadvantage, the French carmaker is working on a facelifted version of its popular SUV and it is likely to be showcased in February at the 2016 Auto Expo.
Considering the worsening traffic situations in major cities of India, automatic transmission equipped cars are witnessing a surge in demand but there aren’t many options available when we look at diesel engined SUVs below the Rs. 20 lakh mark. This is what Renault wants to take benefit of next and it will add the option of an AMT gearbox to the updated Duster when it is launched. The major reason of choosing an AMT gearbox is cost since other types of automatic transmissions cost a lot more in comparison.
Till now, no Renault product has ever used an AMT gearbox and this would be a first for them. At this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Dacia (Renault’s sister brand) displayed the AMT gearbox which it plans to put into the affordable vehicles in the range across the world. The dual clutch gearbox which is seen on the Duster abroad is very expensive and would bump up the price of the vehicle exponentially in India, making it an unfeasible product from the price point of view, largely because affordability rules in India over everything else.
To be launched only in the 1.5-litre 110 PS diesel variant, the AMT gearbox equipped Renault Duster is likely to cost around Rs. 1 lakh more than its manual counterpart. The premium for the gearbox sounds a bit high but nothing can be said unless prices are officially revealed. Other changes which the facelifted model will receive are new headlights and tail lights along with a new bumper and grille. Interiors are also likely to get better materials to up the feel good factor of the vehicle.
Source – AutocarIndia.com