Renault South Africa says it underestimated local demand for its budget-beating Kwid model, but has since been able to secure additional volume.
Brian Smith, Renault SA’s vice president for marketing and communications, told CARmag.co.za that when the Kwid was launched locally in November 2016, the company anticipated sales of “around 500 to 600” units a month. But instead the new model proved to be “incredibly popular” with South Africans.
“By the end of January, we had sold nearly 2 000 cars [in about two-and-a-half months], so we had effectively sold our planned stock for four months in just over half that time,” Smith told us.
“I think we underestimated the value proposition, in particular with the one year of insurance included. I would like to offer my apologies to anyone who has had to wait, and thank them for their support,” he added.
The figures reported to Naamsa over the past few months reflect the drying up of Renault SA’s stock, with February and March‘s registrations coming in at 399 and 370 respectively, down from November, December and January‘s figures of 519, 752 and 621 respectively.
Smith went on to reveal that Renault SA had managed to secure “additional volume”, which was expected to arrive in couple of weeks into April.
“I’m happy to be able to add, though, that we have secured some additional volume from the March production/April arrival schedule going forward. In addition, we have maintained our offer of one year of comprehensive insurance included in the purchase price,” Smith told us.
“These vehicles will begin arriving on dealer floors one to two weeks into April [geographically dependant, with the vehicles coming through Durban port] and I believe we will be able to satisfy most of the current demand situation,” he said.
“I need to add that we do have a substantial back order listing to alleviate, but I am confident we can reduce the lead-time to a couple of weeks by the end of April.”
One of the major criticisms we had of the Kwid when we road-tested the Indian-built vehicle in our January issue was its lack of ABS. At the time, Renault SA responded that it was “pressuring the factories and engineers to rectify this as soon as possible”.
However, Smith told us that this was still a “work in progress”.
“At this stage, we still do not have an option for an ABS equipped version, as one does not yet exist internationally. It remains a work in progress and I cannot yet confirm any timing on new derivatives. Rest assured we are still very conscious of any improvements we can make and will keep you informed as they are confirmed,” he concluded.