Sneak preview of the Renault Scala
The first thing you ask yourself, when you look at Renault’s new sedan Scala, is have you seen this before. For the car has uncanny similarities with alliance partner Nissan’s caaar Sunny. And why not? The two cars share the same platform, engine, powertrain, chasis, interiors, features and pretty much everything else.
But unlike its small car Pulse which looked a carbon copy of the Nissan Micra, Scala is a Sunny and a little bit more. So the main USP of the Nissan car of a cavernous boot and increased leg room at the rear holds true for Scala too. Add to it generous dollops of chrome all around and a distinct looking grille cluster do well to differentiate it from the Sunny.
Agreed the grille does look like it has been lifted straight out of the Pulse but here the latter’s colossal failure will help Renault’s cause. With so few Pulses on the road, the Scala can pass off as a new car despite the fact that it comes a good 8 months after the small car’s launch in this year’s auto expo in January.
From the inside or under the hood there is precious little that the Scala offers by way of addition over the Sunny. The car is powered by the same 1.5 litre K9K diesel engine that powers the Sunny and develops 86 PS power and 200 NM torque. There is also a 1.5 litre petrol engine that manages 99 PS power and 134 NM torque. Between the four of them–Micra, Sunny, Pulse and now Scala– the dashboard and steering wheel is identical. So are the features like steering mounted audio controls, push start function, ABS with Electronic brake distribution and brake assist and airbags. Little to choose between any of them.
How important is Scala for Renault in India? It is the carmaker’s fifth launch in India in 3 years, a commitment it had made right at the start. And it has stayed true to the promise.
Out of these 4, three have not met expectations in terms of their acceptance in the market. The Fluence and Koleos remain on the fringes of their respective segments each refusing to budge from their positions despite attempts made by the company. The Pulse, as stated above, is an unqualified failure. It is struggling to hit four digit sales in a market that is one of the biggest for small cars around the world.
Only the Duster launched last month, has received some semblance of success. So far it has a waiting period of over 3 months and bookings of over 15,000 units, which is good in these tough conditions even though these are still early days. Duster’s success notwithstanding, another failure in Scala would not paint a rosy picture for Renault. 4 duds out of 5 is never good reading for anybody.