January car sales: Renault Duster loses ground, Sail U-VA finds few takers

Who would have thought that you would see the Renault Duster in the list of big losers for January? But, yes, the Duster appears to have lost a bit of traction in sales now along with a host of others – also once popular cars. 

January is a month when car sales usually pick up after a dull December, and it is also a month that many carmakers choose to increase prices in for two reasons. One, the threat of an imminent price rise encourages those buyers who were deferring their purchase decisions to take the plunge in December itself, and two, it’s a good time to milk latent demand in the market from those who want a new model year variant of a car. Also read: Most car prices increase in January

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Renault Duster pays the price for price hikes

But sometimes, that strategy just doesn’t work as intended, and that appears to be the case with the Renault Duster. After the last round of price hikes, the top-end Renault Duster RXZ Option is now about Rs. 11.87 lakh ex-showroom. In fact, prices have gone up by Rs. 60,000 from the time of its launch in the last six months. At this price point it is more expensive than the Mahindra XUV500 W6, which comes with far more power, space and equipment, and definitely more expensive than the Mahindra Scorpio, which has a fully-loaded VLX 4×4 variant at a lower price – with more features, power and off-road functionality.  Sales of the Duster are down nearly 900 units from December, down from 4,485 in December to 3,554 in January. Has Renault milked it enough? Or are expectations of the Ford EcoSport already weighing on the Renault Duster? Also read: Renault hikes Duster prices by up to Rs. 40,000

Tata Nano not picking up

Tata Nano - Special Edition

The other vehicle that has significantly lost sales in January is the Tata Nano .This is one car that has seen a pretty bumpy ride. The Nano is one of the most inexpensive cars in India, yet it hasn’t been able to meet expectations at all. Sales of the Tata Nano have dropped from 2,202 units in December to 1,504 units in January. The fact that the Nano is a petrol only model probably is hurting it slightly, and Tata would do well to come out with a CNG and diesel variant soon – both these are in the pipeline. Also read: Tata Nano vs Maruti Alto 800, first time buyer’s car?

Ford’s Classic beginning to feel its age?

Ford seems to have only the Figo as its lucky mascot. The Ford Classic, which was selling quite decently post its relaunch in August 2012 has started slipping. Sales of the Ford Classic slipped over 50% from 1,574 units in December to just 723 in January. Is it likely that buyers no longer see value in the Ford Classic, with newer cars like the just launched Chevrolet Sail to look forward to?

Skoda Rapid loses buyers to VW’s Vento

Sales of another sedan, the Skoda Rapid too have dropped after a spike in December. This can be attributed to deals and discounts that Skoda was running in November and December, which pushed up sales. In January, sales of the Rapid dropped to 1,458 cars from 1,890 cars in December. Interestingly, the Rapid’s more expensive cousin, the Volkwagen Vento has picked up in sales in January – and this is because it now comes with more features, and VW was offering freebies with the car. That could have also affected the Rapid – as buyers swung toward Volkswagen’s Vento instead.

Another couple of cars that have lost traction in January, include the Tata Manza (and Indigo), whose sales have dropped from 3,455 cars to 2,367 cars in January, its lowest level in the last six months. This is in spite of Tata introducing a more luxurious variant of the Manza a couple of months ago.

Chevrolet Sail U-Va going downhill

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Among the new launches, Chevrolet’s Sail U-VA, the hatchback variant of the Chevrolet Sail that was launched a couple of months ago seems to be finding few takers. Sales of the Chevrolet Sail U-Va have dropped from 1,173 cars in December to 1,076 cars in January. That is quite a poor showing considering GM was expecting the car to clock close to 5,000 units a month, with its aggressive pricing for this spacious car. Also read: GM launches Chevrolet Sail U-VA

Can these make a comeback next month? Share your thoughts on the significant losers of January.

Cars that lost out significantly (Jan 13 vs Dec 12)

Renault Duster:  3554 vs 4485

Tata Nano: 1504 vs 2202

Ford Classic: 723 vs 1574

Skoda Rapid: 1485 vs 1890

Tata Manza: 2367 vs 3455

Chevrolet Sail U-VA: 1076 vs 1173

 

Source: Team-BHP/Industry data