Nissan has officially confirmed that it will launch the Duster SUV under its own name and badge (code: NH79) as part of the cross-badging arrangement between Renault and Nissan in India. Until now, Renault has borrowed Nissan products (Micra and Sunny), tweaked the styling marginally and sold them under the Renault brand (as the Pulse and Scala respectively). However, with the Duster, it will be the other way round and this hugely successful SUV will be the first Renault (Dacia) product to wear a Nissan badge in India when it goes on sale, possibly by the end of 2013.
Speaking exclusively to Autocar India, Colin Dodge, Nissan’s executive vice-president said that Nissan’s version of the Duster will go beyond badge engineering. “We’ve got quite a differentiated car and the differences are far more significant than on the V-platform products (Micra/Pulse and Sunny/Scala). The hood and the fenders have differences and the bumpers are different too. But it’s more than just a bumpers and grille change for sure,” said Dodge.
Nissan is hopeful that its version of the Duster will outsell Renault’s as it is likely to be cheaper (if the hierarchy between the two brands is followed) and because the Nissan brand is currently stronger than the French brand in India.
According to sources, Renault could delay the sharing of the Duster with Nissan until 2014, as this SUV is seen as the ticket to building Renault’s brand presence in India. Renault sold over 4,000 Dusters in September and sales are likely to further increase going into the festive season.
Also read: Renault Duster review, test drive