By the end of this year, Nissan India will take a stab at one of the hottest segments in the Indian car market, the compact SUV space. To do this, Nissan has borrowed the Dacia Duster from Renault India, an SUV that will get a restyling and rebadging. The thus adorned Duster SUV with Nissan badges will be launched in India by the end of 2013, and from here on it gets interesting. AutoCarIndia reports that Nissan's Duster based SUV will be dubbed the Terrano, a badge that Nissan will be resurrecting after nearly two decades. Along with the resurrection of the Terrano badge, Nissan's Duster based SUV is also expected to be priced higher than the Renault variant, at a price that's about 50,000 to 75,000 rupees greater than that of the Renault Duster.
This bit of detail is quite a departure from the norm as badge engineered products shared been Nissan and Renault have resulted in Nissan products being priced and positioned below those from Renault. Also, the high price will mean that the top end variants of the Nissan's Duster based SUV will be priced over 15 lakh rupees in certain cities of India, and at that kind of money, it'll be interesting to see if the Indian SUV buyer will actually look over and above the Renault Duster and pick the Nissan badged product. At the higher price point, if Nissan does outfit its iteration of the Duster with a higher level of kit and spruced up interiors, the new product would be a welcome addition. Under the skin though, the 1.5 Liter K9K turbo diesel engine is expected to be a common thread that connects the Renault and Nissan versions of the monocoque Duster.
A reason for Nissan pricing its version of the Duster higher than that of the Renault version is to avoid cannibalizing sales of the latter. Both Renault and Nissan have a similar number of dealerships across the country. Nissan has 79 dealerships when compared to 90 of Renault. Notably, the Nissan Duster based SUV will be the last badge engineered product from the Renault-Nissan stable for the time being. From here on, Renault and Nissan are expected to focus on independent products carrying their respective badges rather than indulging in badge engineering, a strategy that was mainly intended to make Brand Renault more visible in the Indian car market. Now that the Duster has made Renault a household name in the country, the time seems ripe for the French brand to strike out on it own. The Renault-Nissan joint manufacturing facility at Oragadam though, will continue to be a shared affair.
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