The automotive industry in India is growing to newer heights by every passing day and among these, there are a few particular segments which are making the most of it, one among which is, the small, entry-level hatchback segment. The things in this segment are definitely getting hotter by the day, with all the latest launches taking place. The latest product in this segment, the Maruti Suzuki Celerio is setting the sales charts on fire, and is an indication that the Indian market is now ready for changes, with a majority of the bookings going to the variant equipped with the AMT gearbox.
While Maruti Suzuki enjoys the increase in sales, the other manufacturers are already hard at work, trying to develop a car to better the record, and at the top of that list of manufacturers is, Renault. By launching the Duster as one of their first products in India, Renault instantly became a household name in the Indian automobile industry, but now since the sales of the Duster have started slowing down, they are out, looking to tap other segments to leave a mark on it, just like the Duster did on the compact SUV segment in India.
When Datsun officially entered India with the ‘GO’ it wasn’t completely ruled out that, Renault, being the indirect parent company of Datsun, might use its rights and launch a badge-engineered Datsun product to cater to the entry level market, which requires low cost engineering, a field Datsun specializes in. and now reports have surfaced stating that Renault will be launching a entry level hatchback based on the Datsun RediGo concept that was earlier displayed at the auto expo in Delhi. Renault has code-named this new entry level hatchback as the XBA.
The RediGo was based on the CMF(common module family) platform, which was a platform jointly developed by Renault and Nissan, who call it a ‘cross-sector concept’, and now the new Renault XBA too will be based on this platform. It has not yet been confirmed if the XBA will be a totally badge engineered product or will it just use the platform from the RediGo and be developed from the ground up, but even before we received confirmation, renderings of the production ready Renault XBA as already hit the internet.
The design of the XBA redefines the terms, ‘simple yet elegant’. The designers haven’t gone over the roof with the basic design and the car has clean lines all over, it’s not a sharp design, and neither is it a completely rounded design. Up front, it has a chrome bar grille that stretches across the entire front fascia, with a HUGE Renault logo right in the middle, and the fog lamp housing too looks really neat.
The rear too continues to carry the same sort of design, but the Volvo like tail-lamp cluster does try to impress from the side profile though, the XBA looks a little out of place and weird, but nothing too bad really.
Jerome Stoll, the sales head for Renault has confirmed that the XBA would be produced in India and in Brazil and would be exported to other markets. In Brazil, the XBA will be offered in petrol as well as flex-fuel engines (petrol or ethanol), in India though, we can expect the XBA to be offered with a small and efficient 800cc or 900cc, 3-cylinder petrol engine, which would be mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Renault may also consider an AMT gearbox for the XBA in India, as it is the latest ‘in’ thing, which is catching up fast.
The XBA and RediGo look poised to take the Indian market by storm, and with these two cars, Renault and Datsun will definitely look forward to dethrone Maruti Suzuki as the king of the entry level segment. Renault plans to launch the XBA in 2015.
Image Credit – Noticias Automotivas