One is used to cars designed for the Indian market often looking rather ridiculous: think tall and narrow Nano, the booted Renault Thalia (Clio), or, even worse, the Suzuki Swift sedan. That is why the newest Renault for the Indian market, the Kwid, is a very pleasant surprise – it not only looks good, it looks European-good! Not only that, it is based on an all-new CMF-A platform from the Renault-Nissan alliance, though a 0.8-liter petrol unit will likely ensure its more “show” than “go”. Still, starting at below $5,000 in India, the car looks to be a great hit, and will surely be sold in markets around the world.
What is weird about it, though, is that it looks a whole lot like another car from Renault’s sister company: the Dacia Sandero Stepway. A smaller, better-executed version, sure – but the family resemblance is undeniable.
Now, we are all used to carmakers designing their cars to look very similar so as to create a “family look” that helps sell small cars based on their resemblance to their bigger siblings (think VW Passat and Phaeton), but rarely do we see such blatant copying happening between different brands under one roof.
My guess is that the Kwid was originally designed as a smaller Dacia car, but that Renault liked it so much that it decided it “deserves” to be a Renault instead. It is still possible, of course, that the Kwid will actually become a Dacia down the road, especially given that the reverse is true: Dacias are actually sold as Renaults in most BRIC countries. Plus, this would not be the first time that a high-level decision resulted in a project being transferred between brands – the Ferrari California started life as a Maserati project, the upcoming Fiat Spider started life as an Alfa (and, technically, an MX-5), while VW famously liked the dash that Seat designed for its early 90s Ibiza so much that it pinched it wholesale for its new Polo.