Home / Features / Interview – Venkatram Mamillapalle – ‘Have we made a decision about hybrids? No. Is there potential? Yes.’

 

We spoke to Venkatram Mamillapalle, Country CEO and Managing Director, Renault India Operations, about the manufacturer’s upcoming launches and more.

Interviewed by: Joshua Varghese

Earlier, you had said that three brand-new products were in the pipeline for the Indian market. Are they India-specific?

For India, they are brand-new, not globally. All products for India will be born locally, with a heavy local contact, but parts of the vehicles will be used elsewhere in the world; maybe, in Brazil, maybe, in Romania or Turkey. The platforms exist in other markets too.

Since 2013, Renault have been giving us a new car at least once a year or once in two years, but ever since the pandemic hit, that frequency has been upset. What are your challenges?

It was not the pandemic that caused a problem but the logistics for semiconductors. We have recovered since then and now we are not worried about semiconductors. The situation is returning to normal. We had a little lull in moving fast on investments.

Between 2024 and 2026, you mentioned you would have six new products. Does that include products in the Renault-Nissan alliance?

Three for Nissan and three for Renault.

What is Renault India’s stand on hybrids?

We are not against hybrids, but we have four different goals in four different directions from the government of India. We have to be clear about which side to run. We cannot run in four different directions. Sometimes we are focusing on EV, sometimes on hydrogen, sometimes on ethanol, and sometimes on CNG. Hybrid is a derivative of EV as well as ICE; no rocket science. In Europe, we have strong hybrids and plug-in hybrids. So, it is only a matter of adapting those for India but we have to look at affordability. We want to, we are looking for it. Have we made a decision about it? No. Is there potential? Yes.

The Renault Duster was one of the iconic cars ever launched in India. Will there be a re-entry into that segment?

Yes, you may expect to see it in the new cars that are slated for 2024-26.

Why have you launched ‘Showroom on Wheels’?

What we are trying to do is communicate to the customers at their doorstep to tell them how our vehicles are safe and why they should buy Renault cars. We also want to provide service at their doorstep.

What would you like to tell our readers?

You should educate your readers about how ethanol is a better solution than EV. I am a farmer, so I am also looking at my interests. Everybody gets the benefit. The government does not have to import crude oil, so money is saved. The farmer benefits and the emission is green. A new ecosystem is not needed. The dispensing units are already in place. The only party that does not like it is the finance ministry, because it affects tax collection.

Also Read: Interview – Rayomand Banajee – ‘We are committed to creating champions for India’

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing. Insta: @motoknight

 

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