Earlier this year, Renault’s low-cost subsidiary Dacia shifted the production base for right-hand drive Dusters from its Indian plant in Chennai to Dacia’s Pitesti plant in Romania stating the reason for shifting as economics and logistics management. At the time only around 90 complaints were received in the UK over corrosion issues on the Duster SUV.
But over the months, the complaints rose to several hundreds and the issue has been spreading virally over forums and social media. Eventually, the affected Dusters came to be known as ‘Rusters’. Finally, Dacia has admitted to having inconsistencies in the paint process at the Renault-Nissan plant in Chennai that could cause surface corrosion on the Duster’s door sills and bonnet. This is one of the reasons as to why the Duster is no longer exported from India to the UK.
After shifting production to Romania, price has been regulated and waiting period is minimised, but with the internet revealing increasing number of corrosion issues, even if sales of new model is not affected, pushing used Rusters for good price will be nearly impossible. Given that Dacia’s manufacturing plant in Romania is far from the coast of Black Sea (over 300 km), air quality should not affect painting process, unlike the suspicion in Chennai.
The recent notice on Dacia’s website states that certain batches of the Duster are being recalled. The reason cited for the recall is the detection of corrosion in the cars. Dusters delivered in the UK between January 2013 and August 2014 are supposed to be affected by this. The issue revolves around inconsistent paint quality along some panels – for instance, under the bonnet and on one of the door frames. This, however, doesn’t affect the SUV’s performance in any way.
Surprisingly, Renault-Nissan’s plant Chennai plant manufactured Dusters for both UK and India. The Dusters sold in India are still being manufactured at the same plant. If the UK Duster is plagued with corrosion issues and Dacia have officially recalled the Duster to address the issue, it is very strange that Renault India have remained tight-lipped regarding the Duster sold here.
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