The upcoming Renault Kiger emphasises a few automotive facts:
The time gap between concept and production model is shrinking. The market is moving too fast and the competition is too fierce to allow the luxury of a concept percolating for a few years before morphing into production. Any manufacturer that tried that now will soon be playing catch-up.
The difference between the show or concept car is narrowing. Gone are the days when the wild concept will morph into a tame and safe production model. The Kiger concept was quite wild, but it looks like the final production model will very much project the spirit of the concept.
The sub-compact SUV segment, although getting crowded, is too important to ignore. The Kiger is designed to take on the likes of the Hyundai Venue, Kia Sonet, Tata Nexon and Ford EcoSport. This segment is a tricky one for manufacturers because it demands leading-edge design and features at a very competitive price point.
It also shows the importance of the Renault – Nissan – Mitsubishi partnership and its common module family (CMF) development and manufacture approach. CMF allows the partnership to jointly develop the underpinnings of different families of cars, resulting in massive cost and development time savings. The Kiger uses the same CMF-A+ foundation as the Nissan Magnite, so slightly bigger than the CMF-A used by the likes of the Renault Kwid. This system allows both the development speed and price advantages to give Renault the edge in this competitive segment.
Lastly, it shows the increasing importance of India in the automotive arena, both as a source of new models and a global manufacturing centre. Like the Renault Triber, the Kiger was designed as a joint effort between Renault France and India, with a significant bias to the needs of the Indian market. The Indian market is young, dynamic and enormous. If a car can sell in India, the volumes will be big enough to justify the development cost. But for some reason, what works in India also works in much of the rest of the world, including South Africa. India also has a huge and well-educated labour force and has become one of the premier auto-manufacturing hubs of the world. The Renault Kiger will be built in India for India and the rest of the world.
So what will the Kiger look like? Much like the concept, but perhaps not with the exaggerated 19” chunky wheels, the very prominent bumper detail and the paint that changes colour with angle of view.
Spy shots suggest the production models will keep the winged grille with its horizontal slats, the split headlights and split LED tail-lights. The profile will stay the same, with the sharply raked rear window, spoiler and prominent C-pillar staying.
The drivetrain will most likely be a 1.0-litre naturally aspirated engine with a manual or AMT gearbox, as well as 1.0-litre turbo-petrol with manual and CVT options.
There is no news yet if or when the Renault Kiger will launch in South Africa, or at what price point, but you will be sure to read about it first on our blog.