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Old 26th May 2011, 10:06   #121
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

First things first, a great review, a well deserved 5 stars.

Was waiting for this review just to see what Renault could offer the very sensitive Indian. And I am thoroughly dissappointed. Fluence looks to be a good package, but the extra ordinary things (read base bone diesel and bad pricing) that Renault has tried is baseless marketting arrogance. I mean why do you have to experiment with all this. As they say "Keep it simple silly".
15L and a 1.5Ltr engine with Gods own RCA connections in the diesel, what were they thinking. Logan was a good package, badly designed and priced; Fluence is good package, nicely designed but badly equipped (diesel) and horrendously priced. Seems they need a third launch to better other things.

Why can't some manufacturers take the Indian market seriously (read Mitsubishi and Fiat and now Renault)
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Old 26th May 2011, 14:40   #122
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Guys,

I have seen the car and test driven it:

1. The diesel is under equipped for sure. However, its the choice of colours that give it a clearly downmarket look as compared to petrol. They need to give black-beige interior colour combination. Its not the black colour which makes it look cheap, its the 'weird grey' that comes in contrast/conjugation with black that makes it look cheaper than it is. Some Hyundai and Toyota car interiors seem to look better than they actually are (quality and materials wise). This one, shockingly, looks poorer than it is. In fact, the interior quality, even on the diesel, is quite good.

2. The diesel looks under powered on paper. But out on the road, it is adequate, as is usually the case with diesel motors.

3. The car is HUGE and has very good road presence.

4. I personally like the looks of the car. When looked from front, the car may look a bit eccentric to some, but not to me.

5. The interior quality is distinctively good. The interior build strength does not match Jetta/Laura standard, but it is certainly not Altis flimsy. The dashboard gets 'genuinely soft touch material' (every tom dick and harry car is said to have soft touch materials, when in reality, they don't.

6. The space inside the car is awesome. It also clearly has the best handling-ride balance of all cars (if you like suppleness). In fact, the ride quality is best in the segment.

7. The general french eccentricities have already been covered in the thread. I will not repeat them.

8. THE DEAL BREAKER: Diesel@12.99 is seriously optimistic. I think that a lot of people would have been interested in this @11.99. They needed to put this against the Cruse and not Jetta/Laura. It is only 50k cheaper than Laura Ambiente, which is not a good thing.

9. Oh yes, Renault seems to have instructed its guys to behave in very courteous fashion. Theoretically, they want give people the option of a solid European car, without the snobbishness of a VW. The salesperson was the most knowledgeable I have ever met. He knew that the car has distinct 'turbo whistle' as well and has been reported by many journos as well. The only problem is, the car's price needed to reflect the philosophy that Renault was trying to bring, which it doesn't. With the good treatment dished out, I have feeling that their after sales willl be good as well.

Verdict: The same car@ 11.99 ex-showroom, beige interiors (even with same level of equipment for base diesel), would have been a good option. I personally would have considered one. As of now, its out of my race (survey) for a new car. A good product not given a fighting chance by poor pricing.

Doing market research on this was not very difficult. If they were not confident of what they were going to do, they could have hired some mgmt consulting company for this. They need to fire their 'strategy consultant'.

Last edited by Abhi_Automobile : 26th May 2011 at 14:44.
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Old 26th May 2011, 16:54   #123
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

If compared by price, it has no chance with the competition, if compared by price to size ratio Cruz is a better car, price to power, Cruz beats it hollow again, equipment, Cruz again, VFM, Vento, Optra and Linea will get that. I know to what this car can truly be compared to, Optra!, but even that has a much better engine!
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Old 26th May 2011, 18:13   #124
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Hardly the segment to enter for an "unknown" brand like Renault. I found their ads in todays paper also very funny. Completely irrelevant to the buyer. This is very similar to what Nissan has been doing with the Teana and Xtrail.
anyway why cant they use the same Nissan dealership network ? what is the major brand differentiation they are trying to create ?

But one thing to note is , if Renault had finally decided to launch their first car in this segment, there is no chance they could have sold any more cars by pricing it lower. i feel even with a 1-1.5 lakh price difference, competition is still covering this segment well.
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Old 26th May 2011, 18:45   #125
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Hardly the segment to enter for an "unknown" brand like Renault. I found their ads in todays paper also very funny. Completely irrelevant to the buyer. This is very similar to what Nissan has been doing with the Teana and Xtrail.
anyway why cant they use the same Nissan dealership network ? what is the major brand differentiation they are trying to create ?

But one thing to note is , if Renault had finally decided to launch their first car in this segment, there is no chance they could have sold any more cars by pricing it lower. i feel even with a 1-1.5 lakh price difference, competition is still covering this segment well.
I don't think so. I think there are spaces in the segment which can be covered, right at the base end of it. The Cruze and Altis are the only player at the bottom end of this segment. There are many who will simply shun off Altis for its puny 1.4 D-4D mill. Although Cruze is a brilliant all rounder, it lacks two things which Fluence it good at:

1. Sapce.
2. Interior quality.

The only problem is, to beat your competition, you have to play against it Renault seems to be closer to Skoda/Jetta than Cruze/ Altis, which is where it should not be

Overall, poor price kills the product. Can they do anything about it? Well, they started on the wrong foot itself. I dount that they will either change the price to 11.99 anytime soon or bring a cheaper variant (is there room for any more bare bone version anyway!). So, for practical purposes, game's over before it started.

Last edited by Abhi_Automobile : 26th May 2011 at 18:48.
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Old 27th May 2011, 00:26   #126
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

For all the guys here who talk about comparisons, we need to understand that the average person who buys a fluence/laura class car will be chauffered. He will look for
1) leg room
2) Comfort
3) Overall Space
4) FE (this comes first)
5) Good looking Car
I wish to point out that renault has scored here very well with the above points.
Average indian buyer is not technical and is a very different breed from what we find on teambhp.
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Old 27th May 2011, 05:11   #127
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

We all agree that its overpriced but to be honest comparison with Cruze is a bit unfair. In Australian market here Fluence is a segment higher compared to Cruze. I guess its the same with other international markets. GM/Holden advertise Cruze as a small affordable sedan and Fluence competes with Civic and even Accord to some extent.
The problem with the Diesel Flunce in India is the choice of Engine and the Equipment list.
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Old 27th May 2011, 10:01   #128
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

I remember the RENAULT marketing head's statement before the launch
" Fluence will be competing with western european rivals " , this is very well valid with Fluence competing with Laura/Jetta than Altis/Cruze .
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Old 27th May 2011, 10:56   #129
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

I have seen pics of the Fluence but I want to see the beast in the metal

The adverts give no indication where the dealers are (I dug into website and found one in Whitefied and one on Bellary Road). Expect a few salesmen yawning and wondering!
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Old 27th May 2011, 11:37   #130
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

I expect them to re-launch the diesel variant with more equipment levels. Add the equipment level of the petrol to it and dont increase the current price. I am sure the car will find a lot more buyers that way.

The main competition of Renault was with Cruze I believe. The breed of people who started with Altis as a car on there list will end up buying that only I feel more often then not. Its the ones who love there cars, who will consider fluence vs cruze debate.

Again the buyer who is looking at jetta/laura will not come down to these cars as many times its more about snob value and Jetta/laura surely command more of that.
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Old 27th May 2011, 13:33   #131
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmat View Post
The adverts give no indication where the dealers are (I dug into website and found one in Whitefied and one on Bellary Road). Expect a few salesmen yawning and wondering!
The newspaper advs are laughable. "We are Renault. Bonjour India"??? Remember you are selling a 15 lac sedan! Don't talk down to your target audience at least

As ajmat pointed out, no pointers to dealer addresses, plus no pics of the Fluence (why not? It's gorgeous!), no URL, no specs. My Marketing profs would say "no fulfilment mechanism"- big fail.
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Old 27th May 2011, 14:08   #132
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

The vehicle just might be a big fail, for more than just one reason of diesel not having the goodies. Not just you can hear the sound of the diesel engine, but the ergonomics of the vehicle is so messed up, one will hardly be comfortable in this vehicle even if it was launched in a segment lower. You just cant launch a car with good handling and ride quality and expect big sales. I believe if the product is really good you wont need too much of marketing, it will speak for itself. One of my friends friend works in the Renault chennai and he told me that Renault got 1.25 crores worth of windshield wiper to India and turned out they were for right-hand traffic and they dumped it because sending it back was not worth it. I dont know how far the story is true, but if it is then there are some real noobs working in Renault. I'm also not sure if he meant wipers or the strip where the wipers are actually attached. May be they want to change the way we drive in India The attachment is off topic sorry
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Old 27th May 2011, 14:33   #133
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abhi_Automobile View Post
Guys,

3. The car is HUGE and has very good road presence.

4. I personally like the looks of the car. When looked from front, the car may look a bit eccentric to some, but not to me.

i defenitely agree with you on the looks and road presence part. Saw one in white color yesterday and i was defenitely impressed by the looks and its road presence. Some might find it a little quirky but i liked it nevertheless. If only they could have got the pricing right and put in more features in the diesel.

what were these guys thinking. Seems like during their alliance with mahindra they have not learnt anything about the indian market.
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Old 27th May 2011, 19:15   #134
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Default Re: Renault Fluence : Test Drive & Review

@Stratos you've done a great job with the pictures. Great quality captures the most subtle of details. Totally blew me.
The car on the other hand, is French and will take forever to get my vote.
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Old 27th May 2011, 19:33   #135
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I wonder when we can have some idea of their sales figures.
Can anybody let the forum know how and when we can have some idea of the sales figures?
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