The Ford EcoSport onslaught is working as predicted. Sales of the Renault Duster have taken a hit for the second month in a row and the only plausible explanation for this is that buyers have been considering the more inexpensive and value-for-money Ford EcoSport instead. This trend doesn’t bode well for the upcoming Nissan Terrano, which is likely to be priced at a premium to the Renault Duster.
While, this is the most interesting sales battle in the compact SUV space, it’s interesting to note that SUVs in general have been showing growth, with total sales in India in August at 9% of the market, while hatchbacks continue to be the largest segment at 53%, sedans at 21% and multi-utility vehicles at 17%. Also see: Renault Duster vs Ford EcoSport video comparison
Ford EcoSport grows, Renault Duster sales drop
Sales of the Renault Duster have dropped ever since the launch of the Ford EcoSport in June. In July Renault sold 3,089 units of the Duster, down from 4,523 vehicles the previous month, when the EcoSport was launched. In August, the EcoSport seems to have eaten into the Duster’s sales even more heavily. Sales of the Renault Duster are down to 2,967 vehicles, forcing Renault to being advertising the vehicle on television again, while the Ford EcoSport sold 5,372 vehicles in August, its highest ever since its launch, with 4,715 in July and 4,002 in June.
Even though the Ford EcoSport is a much smaller vehicle compared to the Renault Duster, the equipment levels and engine choices it offers is a better mix compared to the Duster. And, of course, the biggest reason is the price. The Ford EcoSport is priced between Rs. 5.7 lakh and Rs. 9 lakh, while the Renault Duster’s starting price is Rs. 8 lakh going up to Rs. 12.3 lakh for the top-end variant, which doesn’t even have as many features as the Ford EcoSport.
There’s a clear Rs. 3 lakh price difference on the top-end variants, with the EcoSport beating the Duster hands down on features such as six airbags, automatic climate control, SYNC etc! It’s easy to see why buyers are gravitating towards the EcoSport. However, what may steady the boat is the production crunch that Ford is facing. It has stopped taking bookings for the top-end diesel, the EcoBoost petrol variants, and the automatic petrol variant due to huge demand, with waiting periods of over 270 days or nine months.
Meanwhile, this battle doesn’t seem to be having much of an effect on the Mahindra Scorpio whose sales continue to stay in the comfort zone. The Scorpio sold 3,356 units last month, better than the previous month. Its main rival, the Tata Safari Storme, has failed to attract buyers, with only 601 units being sold. At the top-end of the budget SUV segment, the Mahindra XUV500 too has seen sales improve to 2,225 units, from 2,045 the previous month.
The question is, with the Nissan Terrano scheduled for launch next month, and the Maruti XA Alpha, Hyundai compact SUV and Honda compact SUV all coming early next year, will the Renault Duster be able to ride out the rough times?
Also read: Detailed Renault Duster road test and review
Data source: SIAM/Team-BHP/Industry data