This was one big feat by this small car — a road trip from New Delhi to Paris through some of the world’s toughest terrains. And this grinding 19,000 km trip across 13 countries undertaken by the Kwid was to prove a point — a ‘Make in India’ car can not only beat all odds but also put its mark on the world map.
“It was a bit of a concern as the car we had chosen to do this trip was an entry-level hatchback, which is more suited for city commutes and that it was designed for Indian conditions and not for freezing cold weather,” Rahul Kakkar, who led the five-member team in the driving campaign, told TOI. The road conditions in northeast India proved to be one of the toughest the team faced anywhere. But not only rough roads, the Kwid was put to a range of challenges, be it heavy rains and floods in Myanmar or snow in China. “We switched to winter tyres in Chengdu in China, anticipating snow in a few days. The car continued to impress us through our journey from China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Russia and then into Europe. No matter what the terrain, the Kwid was at its best. Even at the autobahns in Germany, it managed to attain a top speed of 174kmph,” said Kakkar.
The worst moment of the 45-day trip, which ended in Paris in December, was at Aralsk in Kazakhstan where the temperature dropped down to about -25oC and there was no fuel station on our route ahead and the team had to refuel the Kwid with jerrycans at a local garage that they luckily found in the middle of nowhere, said Kakkar.
The Kwid is young, having celebrated its first birthday in September last year. But the little boy is used to creating firsts. It was the first Renault concept car to have been unveiled outside Europe. And ever since, it has been pushing sales figures for the parent company.
“Kwid is the first car by any automobile company to have achieved 98% localisation by value in India. It is a true Make-in-India story,” said Sumit Sawhney, CEO & MD of Renault’s India operations, adding that even screws for the car were designed and made in India. “We believe we have cracked the code for a low-priced, efficient entry-level car in India by locally manufacturing all the parts. And with this Delhi-Paris trip, we wanted to prove that a made-in-India product can be very reliable. This car has beaten the Russian winter, which brought even Napoleon and Hitler to their knees.”
The Kwid is, in fact, taking the Make-in-India drive places. The car is already being exported to Nepal, Sri Lanka and a host of African countries. It will soon be launched in Bangladesh and Bhutan, and Brazil would get a manufacturing plant to roll out its own Kwids.
Courtesy: Times of India