New Delhi: French automaker Renault aims to drive in new models and focus on sales initiatives, especially in rural areas, as it looks to strengthen its position in India, which continues to remain one of the top ten markets for it globally, according to a top company executive. The company recently introduced automated manual transmission (AMT) trims for entry level Kwid and new entrant Triber, in addition to the manual transmission variants. The company is now gearing up to further bolster its product portfolio. "We will soon launch Duster with an all-new turbo engine (petrol), making it the most powerful SUV in its segment," Renault India Operations Country Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Venkatram Mamillapalle told in an interview. Furthermore, the company is readying an all-new product for India market, he added. "True to our product strategy, Renault's new offering will be a disruptor that will cater to the evolving customer expectations, while establishing the expertise of India's design, technical and manufacturing prowess on the global map," Mamillapalle noted. India is one of the key markets for Groupe Renault and has been part of the top ten global markets on a cumulative sales basis for the last few years. "We have some of the most popular global products in our portfolio, led by Kwid, which is one of the top cars for the group globally," he added. Having introduced Triber recently and with Kwid still receiving a robust response, Renault saw its sales surge 75.5 per cent in July to 6,422 units as compared with 3,660 units in July 2019. Robust response to AMT versions of Kwid and Triber have also helped the company shore up additional volumes. Elaborating on the company's mid-to-long term strategic plan to strengthen rural markets for growth, Mamillapalle said last year the company initiated an activity which targeted 330 rural towns across the country. "This is a new avenue that we are aggressively pursuing with an innovative and comprehensive strategy. We have also initiated a special project - VISTAAR to amplify and grow our presence in rural India and our dealership teams have recruited specialised sales consultants to reach out to rural markets," he added. The share of rural markets in Renault India's total sales grew to 25 per cent in April-June quarter from 19 per cent in January-March period. This has been achieved through strong product acceptance and focused efforts invested across the rural markets, Mamillapalle said. Commenting on initiatives taken by the company to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, he said that besides launching several initiatives for contactless sales and service, the company also supported its dealers in many ways. "We announced incentives and relaxation on targets to ease the effects of the lockdown, and set up a task force to facilitate financial transactions with the dealership networks. We also supported our dealer partners in terms of inventory holding costs," Mamillapalle said. At the same time, the company also started a special program for skill development and online training of network sales teams, he added. On businesss outlook for current fiscal, Mamillapalle noted, "We look at 2020 and the mid-term with cautious optimism and hope. We are focused and committed to our India strategy, and are equipping ourselves to deal with the new normal." The journey back to the pre-COVID growth rate will comprise of strategic cooperation and resilience across the value chain, he added. "We have used this time to strengthen our strategy and operations for the future. We are putting in all our energies and efficiencies on consolidation with the approach and intention of bouncing back stronger," Mamillapalle said.