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Old 31st May 2011, 18:08   #151
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Another Cab from Renault, this time even the fleet owners would reject this!

Sorry Renault, you have a lot to do. Better luck next time

Last edited by Jaggu : 31st May 2011 at 18:18. Reason: Please use proper punctuations and avoid typing like this... .... .... Thanks.
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Old 31st May 2011, 19:57   #152
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Went to Pune last weekend and got a chance to drive the new Fluence. One thing is for sure that this car has better handling than anything I've driven so far. Its really that good. The diesel engine sound is not bothersome at all. Found noticeable turbo lag below 1800 rpm. There is loads and loads of leg room and head room. Check out pictures attached.
Attached Thumbnails
Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review-20110530-17.36.51.jpg  

Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review-20110530-17.37.15.jpg  

Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review-20110530-17.38.07.jpg  

Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review-20110530-17.38.21.jpg  

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Old 1st June 2011, 14:41   #153
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saty View Post
So far it seems like India is bidding Renault 'Au Revoir' !
well i hope it does! because it really looks like renault has taken the Indian market for granted.... again! first they thought the logan will sell like hotcakes, irrespective of the quirks it has. now they have done it again with the fluence, and that too in a much higher price bracket, which would be much more unforgiving.

a. i absolutely abhor the inertia/ laziness/ cost cutting tendency not to turn things around for the RHD markets. the start-stop button, the handbrake, the bonnet release- all cases in point. it's a wonder they thought of turning the wipers around this time round!
b. in this segment particularly, and more generally in all segments, diesels are being sought more- thanks to the difference in prices of petrol and diesel. and i wonder what kind of market survey and strategy planning made renault think it's ok to strip the diesel variant down to it's bones. i wonder if they think people will still buy it, and i hope people don't if only to show renault that it pays to understand the indian customer.
c. small but typical Indian requirements as was pointed out in the review have been almost smugly ignored. like the glove box. like the 500ml bottle holder. [tell me the last time you bought a 500ml bisleri when travelling]. like the chrome decoration [not that i'm a big fan of chrome, but it if you can give it on petrol, why not on diesel?] sure these may not be deal-breakers, but it shows that renault are typically french!

look at toyota with it's etios and chevrolet with it's spark, beat, cruz on one hand and renault on the other; and i'm sure you'll agree with me.
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Old 1st June 2011, 20:30   #154
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Took me long to go through entire thread. Here is my understanding.

a) Car Indeed Looks good.
b) It should not be compared with cars like Cruze, Altis and Civic rather it should be compared with Laura and Passat; Especially due to size. It definitely has got the presence.
c) A low capacity low powered engine on diesel is driving the maximum flak. They should try to overcome that flaw with a higher than 2000 CC (possibly some 2.5 L) engine and I am sure they have few such engines in their French Stable.
d) Handling, Ride quality and premium interiors should see it some sales.
e) Equipment list is indeed small; in this segment customer is looking for wow features which are usually not present in lower segment than this, which definitely are missing from this car.
f) The Biggest issue is renault pre-existing Brand value which gets derived from its earlier launch, the "Logan". Moreso after Renault's exit, Mahindra has made Logan even cheaper priced, which is affecting and which will keep on Haunting Renault's future car launches.
g) Good to see Renault placing a premium on this car, which should give them enough headroom and premium in their next launches from now on. They should try to do away with Logan image as far as possible.
h) I am sure the this car is not meant for India, Probably they would make India as a manufacturing location for all the "Right hand Drive" markets, which in itself is a very good strategy. Although Indian customers will start getting advantage only after few other launches.

My suggestion to renault Team would be to launch something really premium say in the segment above 18-20 Lakh, with a good performance and luxurious offering, and gradually come down in next few launches. It will create a halo of premium quality on their brand on their next launches.

The alternate best strategy would be to keep launching new products from Nissan Badge, which i think has got a premium-ness attached to the brand.

Although I am not disappointed with the pricing of product but quite disappointed with the feature list it offers for Indian customers. At the moment I can only say "Best of luck" to Nissan's new Innings in India.

Last edited by anu21v : 1st June 2011 at 20:32.
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Old 1st June 2011, 21:26   #155
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Very nice review ; Seems to be a dull attempt by Renault to woo us ; Cannot see it burning sales charts ; Maybe some units in Urban India
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Old 3rd June 2011, 08:11   #156
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by anu21v View Post
Took me long to go through entire thread. Here is my understanding.

a) Car Indeed Looks good.
b) It should not be compared with cars like Cruze, Altis and Civic rather it should be compared with Laura and Passat; Especially due to size. It definitely has got the presence.
c) A low capacity low powered engine on diesel is driving the maximum flak. They should try to overcome that flaw with a higher than 2000 CC (possibly some 2.5 L) engine and I am sure they have few such engines in their French Stable.
d) Handling, Ride quality and premium interiors should see it some sales.
e) Equipment list is indeed small; in this segment customer is looking for wow features which are usually not present in lower segment than this, which definitely are missing from this car.
f) The Biggest issue is renault pre-existing Brand value which gets derived from its earlier launch, the "Logan". Moreso after Renault's exit, Mahindra has made Logan even cheaper priced, which is affecting and which will keep on Haunting Renault's future car launches.
g) Good to see Renault placing a premium on this car, which should give them enough headroom and premium in their next launches from now on. They should try to do away with Logan image as far as possible.
h) I am sure the this car is not meant for India, Probably they would make India as a manufacturing location for all the "Right hand Drive" markets, which in itself is a very good strategy. Although Indian customers will start getting advantage only after few other launches.

My suggestion to renault Team would be to launch something really premium say in the segment above 18-20 Lakh, with a good performance and luxurious offering, and gradually come down in next few launches. It will create a halo of premium quality on their brand on their next launches.

The alternate best strategy would be to keep launching new products from Nissan Badge, which i think has got a premium-ness attached to the brand.

Although I am not disappointed with the pricing of product but quite disappointed with the feature list it offers for Indian customers. At the moment I can only say "Best of luck" to Nissan's new Innings in India.
Nice balanced review, i agree with the fact that though the car looks excellent the offering is highly diluted. Even my humble Scorpio packs more gizmos.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 08:46   #157
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by anu21v View Post
b) It should not be compared with cars like Cruze, Altis and Civic rather it should be compared with Laura and Passat; Especially due to size. It definitely has got the presence.
Is that a typo? Laura and Passat is not in the same category. Laura is in the same line as Cruze, Civic etc., and thatís where the Fluence stands as well. I have seen the car, and itís definitely not in Passat/Superb range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anu21v View Post
My suggestion to renault Team would be to launch something really premium say in the segment above 18-20 Lakh, with a good performance and luxurious offering, and gradually come down in next few launches. It will create a halo of premium quality on their brand on their next launches.
Good point! This is something which VW managed to do very successfully. To begin the India innings with Passat, and then bring in Jetta, and eventually the Polo/Vento.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anu21v View Post
The alternate best strategy would be to keep launching new products from Nissan Badge, which i think has got a premium-ness attached to the brand.
Do they have the so called premium tag? And Renault and Nissan are always approach the market as separate entities. Same like VW cars and Skoda.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anu21v View Post
Although I am not disappointed with the pricing of product but quite disappointed with the feature list it offers for Indian customers. At the moment I can only say "Best of luck" to Nissan's new Innings in India.
Do you mean Renault's new innings?
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Old 3rd June 2011, 10:19   #158
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Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Is that a typo? Laura and Passat is not in the same category. Laura is in the same line as Cruze, Civic etc., and that’s where the Fluence stands as well. I have seen the car, and it’s definitely not in Passat/Superb range.
I think what he means to say is that it should not have been that way. Size wise, yup, its bang on in the Jetta/Laura territory. In fact, the Cruze and Jetta fall under the same category. However, the base Cruze@11.7 ex showroom is cheaper than base Jetta TDi@14.xx by approximately 3 lacs (I haven't even considered on road prices) So, in terms of attributes that it possesses, it should be projected as a Euro car (which it is) but in terms of price, it needed to be closer to Cruze than Jetta, thus making it good VFM.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. Another case of a decent product spoiled by poor strategy. I wonder how come humbler companies like Maruti and Hyundai (always bang on) tend to get their strategies clear,crisp and relevant. Companies like Renault and Fiat have consistently proved that they don't understand the market at all. Strategies cannot be formulated sitting is board room, disconnected from reality. Its no0t as difficult as some people make it out to be.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 10:49   #159
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It should be projected as a Euro car (which it is) but in terms of price, it needed to be closer to Cruze than Jetta, thus making it good VFM.
Very true, and that normally used to the strength of Renault. Don't know what made them think otherwise, and try something different in India.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 12:01   #160
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Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Very true, and that normally used to the strength of Renault. Don't know what made them think otherwise, and try something different in India.

STRATEGY LESSON 101:

I really believe that thins 'brand image' thing is over hyped in India. Let's do a small case study:

How did Skoda become a 'luxury' band in India. When it was launched, almost nobody knew that such a brand existed anywhere in the world. They did very little advertising either. Their product was relatively high priced as well (Octavia). People bought the product and slowly started appreciating the brand for quality and robustness. The bottom line is , people started appreciating product and therefore the brand, ONLY after they bought it. remember, at that time, the competition was not cut throat so some people would've bought Octavia anyway (despite Octavia not having ultra competitive pricing). And Skoda knew this.

How do Renault believe that it will spoil its image if they price their product on the lower end of the spectrum. Which brand image. An image which does not exist? People will only appreciate their value and quality if they buy Renault products and then get a feel of it.

BTW, I knew that they will mess it up(the pricing). I had been reading the crap that ' we will compete with our western European rivals...blah blah'. You only react according to the market demands. The brand thing is way overblown. You deserve before you demand! Renault needs to earn its reputation by letting maximum people have feel of its product. This is what happens when you take decisions, devoid of market realities. Another shot in the pan: some years back I read that Honda India chief thought that although they were not Merc/BMW, their survey led them to believe that Honda has an image just next to the 'holy trinity'. Thus they need to keep the prices higher than the competition to keep up that image. I knew that they will in trouble soon. The higher pricing coupled with a lack of diesel has been prime reasons for their undoing. Its an uphill task for them now.

Last edited by Abhi_Automobile : 3rd June 2011 at 12:08.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 12:50   #161
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

I have been having second thoughts about the "Diesel" workhorse.
I somehow get a feeling that this car is going the Uno way. People driving Uno swear by its robustness. Its a no non-sense solid performer. FIAT A.S.S mess let it down.

The equipment list maybe small but then I would also "not prefer loaded to gills" Hyundai cars which fail on basics. Handling like a boat and serious faults like Rattling steering.

The equipments I hope are build to last.

Guys who are looking out for a good looking no nonsense Diesel and want it to last for a lifetime might give a serious look to this car.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 17:56   #162
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vb-san View Post
Is that a typo? Laura and Passat is not in the same category. Laura is in the same line as Cruze, Civic etc., and that’s where the Fluence stands as well. I have seen the car, and it’s definitely not in Passat/Superb range.
Definitely not a typo. Look at the size and its positioning in Outside india Markets, Fluence sure is one leg over than Cruze and civic. Btw Skoda Brand has got some premium in India and which is why even the New cruze pricing is lower than Laura.

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Do they have the so called premium tag? And Renault and Nissan are always approach the market as separate entities. Same like VW cars and Skoda.
Yes, Going by what general perception of Nissan is in India Market, sure it has a feel of premium. X-Trail and Teana are quite upmarket and Micra has a touch of premium ness atleast from Exteriors.



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Do you mean Renault's new innings?
this sure is typo, thanks for correcting

Last edited by anu21v : 3rd June 2011 at 18:04.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 18:10   #163
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abhi_Automobile View Post
STRATEGY LESSON 101:

I really believe that thins 'brand image' thing is over hyped in India. Let's do a small case study:

How did Skoda become a 'luxury' band in India. When it was launched, almost nobody knew that such a brand existed anywhere in the world. They did very little advertising either. Their product was relatively high priced as well (Octavia). People bought the product and slowly started appreciating the brand for quality and robustness. The bottom line is , people started appreciating product and therefore the brand, ONLY after they bought it. remember, at that time, the competition was not cut throat so some people would've bought Octavia anyway (despite Octavia not having ultra competitive pricing). And Skoda knew this.

How do Renault believe that it will spoil its image if they price their product on the lower end of the spectrum. Which brand image. An image which does not exist? People will only appreciate their value and quality if they buy Renault products and then get a feel of it.

BTW, I knew that they will mess it up(the pricing). I had been reading the crap that ' we will compete with our western European rivals...blah blah'. You only react according to the market demands. The brand thing is way overblown. You deserve before you demand! Renault needs to earn its reputation by letting maximum people have feel of its product. This is what happens when you take decisions, devoid of market realities. Another shot in the pan: some years back I read that Honda India chief thought that although they were not Merc/BMW, their survey led them to believe that Honda has an image just next to the 'holy trinity'. Thus they need to keep the prices higher than the competition to keep up that image. I knew that they will in trouble soon. The higher pricing coupled with a lack of diesel has been prime reasons for their undoing. Its an uphill task for them now.
All said, Skoda's Success lies in the skoda's offerings of 'Diesel Only' cars which had no competition. When Toyota and Honda and GM's were launching petrol only cars, it was Skoda which was having diesel engines cars. Use of diesel engines brought performance to its cars and the consistent quality brought them accolades. Because of running cost savings and better performance, customer were willing to pay that extra money over corolla and city/Civic, which eventually created that Halo of Premiumness for Skoda.

The Question of branding did not arose in the case of skoda because of absence of a proper competition in diesel segment. It is more prominent and pronounced now that there are so many established cars in cruze, Laura, Passat and even corolla, all of which has diesel offerings.

Last edited by anu21v : 3rd June 2011 at 18:14.
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Old 3rd June 2011, 19:28   #164
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

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Definitely not a typo. Look at the size and its positioning in Outside india Markets, Fluence sure is one leg over than Cruze and civic. Btw Skoda Brand has got some premium in India and which is why even the New cruze pricing is lower than Laura.
Sorry, I still did not get that one. From what I know Passat and Superb are the in-family competitors, and Laura/Octavia fight it out with the Jetta. I cannot reason Laura and Passat compared in the same segment. The latter actually cost almost 50-70% more.
I am not aware of any markets where Fluence is positioned above Cruze, Civic etc. In fact, in many markets, they sell it tad cheaper than Cruze/Corolla (similar spec-ed versions).

Quote:
Originally Posted by anu21v View Post
Yes, Going by what general perception of Nissan is in India Market, sure it has a feel of premium. X-Trail and Teana are quite upmarket and Micra has a touch of premium ness atleast from Exteriors.
Maybe that’s the case. I have not seen how the Nissan is revered in India.
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Old 4th June 2011, 16:19   #165
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Yesterday evening on our way back from Pind Balluchi after having dinner, got a chance to see the Fluence launch in Gurgaon. It was an open air event held in front of Hotel Lemon Tree (sec-29). I reached there moments before the cover on the car was lifted and car was thrown open to general public for touch and feel. In fact I was the 1st person to sit in & check driver's seat . Below are my observations:

1. From outside car is definitely very good looking. Typical Renault styling. On looks front it is not less than any of its competitors.
2. One person in conversation with Renault executive brought up the point that interiors of Petrol are better than the ones in Diesel version. To which Renault executive replied "I wouldn't say it is better, rather I would say it is different." Very diplomatic.
3. Going by the location choosen for its launch, I wouldn't rate Renault's marketing/publicity team very high. Though they spent lots of money on this, but this location was on a very obscure location where road had no street light. Total persons present should be around 70-80 including labour persons from near by under construction sites. They should have done the launch at one of populars malls or at least in front of Bikanerwala, that would have given them the much required eyeballs.
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