Ford EcoSport draws first blood against Renault Duster
Last month, Renault Duster completed a year in India. During this time, over 60,000 units of the vehicle, believed to have prised open the compact SUV segment, have hit the roads and revived a company that was languishing at the fringes. However, as is the case with most non Maruti, non Hyundai brands, the honeymoon season for the car is over.
The entry of Ford EcoSport, Duster’s first credible rival can be attributed for this.
In its first full month in July, EcoSport hit the ground running with 4715 unit sales that was good enough for it to break into the top 10 in India. It is no coincidence that it replaces Duster in that position.
Neither that the 3089 unit sales in July was Duster’s worst month since its launch.
It is obvious what works for the EcoSport.
It is a more urban looking vehicle and has a mint fresh appeal. It also has a whole gamut of features, an area where the Duster cannot even stand an inch.
But more importantly, it comes with a killer price tag that is not Rs 50,000, not Rs 1 lakh but a full Rs 2 lakh less than Duster.
Duster has its own set of niches but with so many of it already on the road the novelty factor is absent now.
And there will be a time when it has to respond.
For now, Renault has taken some partial measures like plonking in navigation and a touch screen interface to make the dated interiors feel a little more upmarket. I daresay they will need a lot more.
The French company though seems to be in a state of denial. It believss that with a price gap that is this substantial, EcoSport is in a completely different segment altogether and caters to different clutch of customers.
That may have been true in Europe but in India that does not work. If all stays this way, be prepared for some hefty discounts on the Duster by the feative season.
Ford has drawn first blood. It will be interesting to see how and when Renault responds.