Add the sales of Nissan Terrano – essentially a rebadged Duster with slightly different looks – and we are talking of a washout here.
The Renault Duster has regained its position as India’s best selling crossover in March 2014, with sales figures of 4,494 units, bettering the EcoSport’s March 2014 numbers of 3,904 units. Add the sales of the Nissan Terrano – 3075 units, and total numbers come to almost twice as much as the EcoSport’s. Looks like Renault-Nissan’s badge engineering, which did not click with the Micra/Pulse, finally came good.
From the Duster’s Indian launch in the middle of 2012 until now, Renault India has put 85,974 units of the SUV on Indian roads, making the Duster the French automaker’s best selling product.
The Ford EcoSport arrived into India in the middle of last year. Ever since, the sub-4 meter compact crossover has been a best selling model in the compact SUV space, besting the likes of the Renault Duster and the Nissan Terrano, the crossover’s direct competitors.
The Duster is larger than the EcoSport and offers more powerful turbo diesel engines too. However, the SUV is also significantly more pricier than the EcoSport, a key reason for buyers gravitating towards the latter. While the March 2014 sales figures of the Duster show it in better light compared with the EcoSport, it must be noted that Ford’s focus on EcoSport exports is a reason why the compact crossover has fallen behind the Duster in terms of sales in India. Currently, Ford India is sitting on a large order book for the EcoSport, whose waiting periods last many months. Ford India has been making positive noises about production increases, which are yet to materialize.
Coming back to the Duster, Renault is likely to launch a facelifted model of its best seller in time for the Indian festive season. The facelifted model will come with cosmetic changes and one major mechanical addition in the form of the four wheel drive function. Renault India plans to add the four wheel drive function to the top-end variants of the Duster, giving the compact SUV off road cred. Currently, the French automaker does build Duster 4X4 models at its Oragadam factory, off Chennai. However, the Duster 4X4 models are intended for the export market. From the end of this year, a similar option would be made available to Indian buyers as well.