Renault launched the Duster in India last year and it immediately became a strong seller. The response to the Duster was so good that the compact SUV overtook India’s best selling SUV, Mahindra Scorpio, to become the segment’s best seller. All was well for Renault until Ford crashed the French automaker’s party with the launch of the EcoSport. Ford not only undercut the Duster’s price by a cool $3000 but also offered way more equipment, helping them to get 50,000 orders in a matter of just two months.
Posts By: Faisal Ali Khan
The Indian government is bizarre. A few months back, a new tax was applied on SUVs, resulting in 3% extra excise duty on them. The government justified the move saying that SUVs occupy more space on the road, although the truth is that large sedans occupy more space than SUVs. A criteria was set and if a vehicle fits into all three, then it is classified as an SUV. Thus an SUV is a vehicle which is more than 4-metres in length, having an engine larger than 1.5-litres and a ground clearance of more than 170 mm. Indian roads are pathetic and you really need good ground clearance to prevent scraping the underbody on large and unmarked speed-breakers.
Jaguar has launched the F-Type in India, priced at an insane Rs. 1.37 crore for the V6 S and Rs. 1.61 crore for the V8 S (no base V6 on offer). Jaguar has almost confused Indians with the F-Type’s pricing as the 2-seater sportscar costs more than the XK in the country.
Did you know that the Duster is the highest selling Renault car in the first five months of 2013? The Duster has changed the fortunes of Renault India, selling 5000 units on an average every month, accounting for 80% of Renault’s sales in India. The Renault Duster and Ford EcoSport are big competitors all over the world. In Brazil, the EcoSport has been outselling the Duster. Both cars are compact SUVs with a front-wheel drive layout and monocoque chassis (the Duster is also offered with 4-wheel drive in select markets but not in India). The competition between both vehicles is extremely intense. Both cars are manufactured in India with heavy localisation (the Duster is already being exported to Europe, while the EcoSport will soon be exported to Australia, South Africa and Europe).
Renault and Nissan have a global alliance and in India both companies keep re-badging each other’s vehicles. While Renault has re-badged the Micra as the Pulse and Sunny as the Scala, Nissan will do it’s first re-badge exercise on a Renault product with the Terrano. The Nissan Terrano, as you can see in the above sketch, is a re-badged Renault Duster.
When Renault entered the Indian market a few years back, it had little experience. Thus the French automaker tied up with local automobile giant Mahindra. The first product to be launched was the Logan, priced a bit optimistically. The product didn’t sell, and Renault decided to part ways, giving Mahindra the rights to sell the Logan as its own product. Mahindra went solo with the Logan, re-badged it as the Verito and made some changes. The Logan started to sell better under the Mahindra umbrella. (Read More…)
More than 50 years after the E-Type was launched, Jaguar has brought its successor, the F-Type to the market. You might wonder why such a long gap between both the cars. Well, the British automaker was developing the F-Type way back in the 1980s but the project was delayed time and again, finally being cancelled after Ford bought the company. In 2000, Jaguar showcased the F-Type concept but that too did not make it to production. Now the F-Type is finally on sale and is offered with an option of 3 engines, the base V6, mid level V6 S and top end V8 S. The F-Type is priced right between the Porsche Boxster and Porsche 911 Carrera, thereby sitting in no man’s land.
The Ford EcoSport is a compact SUV which was first launched in Brazil way back in 2003. Now Ford has brought in the second generation model, which will go on sale in more than 100 markets across the globe. Based on the Fiesta’s B-car platform, the EcoSport is designed to attract buyers in emerging markets like China, Brazil and India. The vehicle measures around 4-meters in length (3,999 mm in India to duck it under the government’s 4-meter mark, without factoring in the spare wheel) and is no longer than a regular hatchback. The design is evokes mixed reaction and some might love it, while others might simply hate it. A large hexagonal chrome grille adorns the front while the spare wheel has been mounted on the tailgate at the rear. A black body cladding runs throughout the lower side of the car. The boot lid opener has been integrated inside the right rear tail light. (Read More…)
The Range Rover Sport was launched in 2005 and Land Rover has sold 4,00,000 units till date. Evolved from Land Rover’s first concept vehicle, the Range Stormer (showcased in 2004), the first generation Range Rover Sport’s production has been stopped, as the second generation model is all set to go on sale in the next couple of months. Land Rover has announced pricing for the Sport in the UK, which starts at £59,995 for the base trim and goes up to £74,995 at the top end. The second gen Range Rover Sport is all new and shares only 25% parts with the Range Rover. It uses an all aluminium PLA platform, which results in a weight saving of 420 kgs over its predecessor (when powered by the same engine). Land Rover states the new Range Rover Sport is “the fastest, most agile, most responsive Land Rover ever”. The British company claims a 30% improvement in handling over the first gen model. The new RR Sport does a lap around the Nordschleife in 8:35 minutes, which is fast for a full sized SUV.
We had a chance to drive a Range Rover Sport prototype at Jaguar Land Rover’s Gaydon test track. (Read More…)
The Tata Nano is the world’s cheapest car but nowhere close to being a good seller. If you factor in the economics of demand and pricing, you will feel the Nano should have done better, much better. Sadly it hasn’t and there are several reasons for it. Firstly the car was positioned as the cheapest car in the world. Nobody (at least not in India) wants to drive the “CHEAPEST” car. Had Tata Motors positioned the vehicle as the most affordable car in the world, things could have been different for the Nano. Or so the theory goes. The truth is probably closer to the fact that people, once they have a little money, don’t want to drive a car that shouts “I can’t afford more!” That type of reverse snobbery is left to very developed markets, or Jay Leno’s garage. (Read More…)
Mitsubishi showcased the Mirage hatchback at the 2013 New York Auto Show. The Japanese car maker will put the vehicle on sale in America, but not India – a more natural market for a subcompact hatchback.
A farmer from a village in Punjab recently paid Rs. 7,00,000/- ($13,000) to get the registration number PB-07 AK-47. AK-47 is the famous assault rifle, but what is shocking is the vehicle he got this number for. (Read More…)
General Motors entered India in 1996 and to this date, the company hasn’t been able to understand the market. The American car maker was among the first few to enter India after the economy was opened to foreigners in 1991, with majority of manufactuers entering India after 1998. GM has two plants in the country, both of which are under utilized (only 38% utilisation). The company initially entered with Opel branded cars (Corsa and Vectra), which were a nightmare when it came to repairs, since parts were imported from Germany, thereby costing a fortune.
While Volkswagen is soaring high in most countries, its India innings have been far from successful. Everybody keeps talking about China and India being the next big automobile markets in the world. The truth is, China has already peaked, while India has a long way to go. For instance, Volkswagen sold 2.8 million units in China last year, while in India, they sold less than 100,000 (which is their plant capacity).
The whole world is betting big on India and China. I don’t have much idea about China, but India definitely needs to move its game if it wants to become a biggie in the automobile sector. Scams, scams and some more scams is what India is becoming more famous for, resulting in a huge deficit for the government. This in turn results in hue and cry by the ministers, resulting in increased taxation. (Read More…)