As the excitement builds up toward the launch of the Renault Duster in the next couple of weeks, an old veteran may be planning a sneak attack on the Duster. Tata may cut prices on the Safari, directly targeting the entry-level Renault Duster. The good old Tata Safari will also get some model rationalization to make space for its younger, but more expensive sibling, the Tata Safari Storme.
According to a source at Tata Motors, Tata is planning to reposition the good old Safari. It will probably knock off two variants of the existing Safari from the top and reposition the entry-level LX variant. Prices may be cut by up to Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1 lakh, giving the LX variant a starting price tag of about Rs. 7.5 lakh.
The top-end VX and GX variants may be discontinued to give way for the Tata Safari Storme, which will be positioned just above the present Safari. This strategy will help the Safari in two ways.
One, it will give the Safari a wider range, with up to six variants – two from the existing Safari variants and three from the Storme line up.
Two, the Safari will suddenly become a direct competitor to the new Renault Duster. The Duster is expected to be priced between Rs. 7.2 lakh and Rs. 11 lakh. The Safari will have plenty up its sleeve to be perceived as much better value for money than the Duster. The Safari is more spacious, it has a more powerful diesel engine and it can seat seven in comfort, compared to five in the Duster.
With this repositioning of the Safari, buyers who had been considering the Renault Duster or even the EcoSport, now also have a full-size SUV to choose from. Tata is likely to offer the Safari with decent equipment levels – such as power-steering, power mirrors, power windows and AC, as well as a music system in the mid-variant, as well as ABS. However, the Duster may have a little more kit, such as dual airbags working in its favor.
Not just the Duster, but the Safari’s old rival the Mahindra Scorpio too will begin to face some heat, if this repositioning happens. And maybe, just maybe, we may see Mahindra also react to all the dust being raised by the Duster, Storme and Safari. And for you, the car buyer, that’s a good thing!