20111030

Renault unveils Micra-based Pulse

Will this badge engineering, which the erstwhile General Motors with an array of brands in its portfolio popularized, ever stop spreading its wings? Just when we thought that Skoda's recently-unveiled and soon-to-be-launched Rapid sedan was an exact photocopy of the Volkswagen Vento, we now have Renault beating Skoda to the crown by unveiling its small car Pulse. Top officials from Renault India unveiled the Pulse in New Delhi today in the presence of Red Bull's Mark Webber and Lotus's test driver Karun Chandok, only the second Indian ever to have got into Formula 1. Renault has been having a great time in F1 with Red Bull claiming both the driver's and the constructor's championships in 2010 and also in 2011 with engines supplied by Renault. It is only fitting that they chose to unveil their all-important small car just before the start of the inaugral Grand Prix of India.

Though it was known earlier that the Pulse is going to be based on Nissan's V Platform that also underpinned the Micra, not even in the wildest of dreams did we expect the same car to be launched with only the badges, logos and, of course, the grille changed. That, in short, sums up the Renault Pulse for you. Look at it from any angle, step into it and check out the interiors from any angle, all you see is the Nissan Micra with the Nissan logo replaced by Renault's. Thankfully, the front end has been slightly redesigned with Renault adding its sporty design touches in the bumper and grille. But again, we can't help but notice the similarity of the front grille with Hyundai's fluidic hexagonal grille. With models like Twingo, Modus and Clio in their hands, it is slightly disappointing that Renault chose to bring the Pulse here instead.

Renault will officially launch the Pulse in the Indian market and announce the prices during the 2012 Auto Expo. The Pulse would be manufactured at Renault-Nissan's Joint-Venture plant near Chennai and exports are also on the cards. Since most of the exterior and interior components are shared with the Nissan Micra, costs can be kept in check due to the huge economies of scale. The Pulse is expected to come initially with the reliable, powerful and fuel-efficient 1.5 liter dCi engine that powers the Nissan Micra. It makes sense in India, as the demand for diesel cars are at an all-time high. A petrol engined variant is expected to be launched a little later. It is also expected that Renault will position the Pulse at a price that is slightly higher than the Micra and project itself as a premium brand. Also present at the event was a sportier-looking Pulse tuned by the company's tuning arm 'Renault Sport'.

With the Nissan Micra already selling only in modest numbers and with the same disadvantages of sparse dealerships and service stations, will the Renault Pulse succeed in India as much as Renault would want it to? Wait a little longer to see for yourselves. 

Image Source: www.zigwheels.com

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