While it is a well known fact that the Ford Ecosport has been eating into the sales of every car from 6 lac to 10 lac INR, the worst affected of them all has been the Renault Duster. The Duster, which was Renault’s biggest success story in India, has been continuously losing ground to the Ecosport.
This July saw the Duster posting its lowest ever sales number at just 3089 units of the vehicle being sold. On the contrary, the Duster had found 6313 new homes in March 2013.
The reasons for this steep decline in sales are many.
For starters, the Ecosport is around 3 lac rupees cheaper than the comparable variant of the Duster. Both the cars are pretty similar in terms of a few critical aspects like ground clearance, cabin space and the kind of image that they intend to portray to their customers. Going on, the 85PS version of the Duster is compared to the TDCi Ecosport and hence comes across as an expensive alternative.
Ford India has been able to equip the Ecosport with a lot of features which takes the “Value for Money” proposition much higher than the Duster. Also, customers seem to like the interiors of the Ecosport, both in terms of quality and execution when compared to the Duster. Further, Renault is still in the process of setting up dealerships and expanding its reach to tier-2 and tier-3 cities whereas Ford, due to its longer presence in the country, has had most towns covered. Ford is also a better known brand in the country compared to Renault.
While all the above factors have been able to make a dent in the Duster’s sales numbers, the Renault-Nissan JV has its own plans. It plans to move the Duster upward to the premium segment.
Nissan is all set to launch its upgraded version of the Duster, the Terrano on the 20th of August. Prices will start at 8.9lac ex-showroom Delhi for the base variant. The Terrano will be a diesel only vehicle with no petrol variants on offer. We expect the Terrano to address a few shortcomings of the Duster like its bland dashboard, quirky switch layout and to have better quality interiors with some minor styling changes to the exterior as well.
What remains to be seen is the kind of marketing the Renault-Nissan JV pulls through to be able to convince customers to buy an upgraded Duster at the price they intend to bring it at.