Renault Duster Starts Losing Steam To Ford EcoSport

Faisal Ali Khan
by Faisal Ali Khan

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.

Ford has launched the EcoSport in Europe, although in limited numbers. The EcoSport won’t be sold in the U.S. as the vehicle is too small for that market. The main markets for the EcoSport are Brazil (being sold since 2003), China and India. The EcoSport is basically a jacked up Fiesta with high ground clearance as the underpinnings, mechanicals, engines and interiors are all the same.

Renault and Nissan badge engineer products in India but to little success. After seeing the tremendous response to the Duster, Nissan has decided to bring their own version. The car you see on this post is the Terrano which is nothing but a Duster underneath with cosmetic changes. Nissan plans to sell the Terrano at a $1000 premium over the Duster in India. Doesn’t seem like such a smart move as sales of the Duster are falling so why would anyone pay more to buy the same car with a different badge?

Faisal Ali Khan is the editor of MotorBeam.com, a website covering the automobile industry of India.

Faisal Ali Khan
Faisal Ali Khan

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4 of 22 comments
  • Motormouth Motormouth on Sep 30, 2013

    If that USD3K price difference is accurate, it appears Ford is trying to win share rather than make substantial profit. Not a bad move in market such as India where customer loyalty can deliver years of repeat sales and positive family recommendations can generate yet more buyers. There's also the point that the EcoSport built in India will be produced in the same factory as the Fiesta it's based on, which could cut costs, rather than the Renault/Dacia Duster, which although being related to an early (second-gen?) Clio has some unique parts on it that could add cost. @TonyJZX - the Duster and other Dacia models are sold as a Renault in all European markets as it was decided that the Dacia name wouldn't be perceived well. This was particularly true in Russia, where Dacia produced (crappy) cars in Romania for distribution throughout the Communist Bloc.

    • Faisal Ali Khan Faisal Ali Khan on Oct 02, 2013

      The EcoSport is cheaper as it falls under a lower excise duty bracket. The Duster is also heavily localised and exported to the UK.

  • Lutecia Lutecia on Oct 01, 2013

    The Duster has actually a lot in common with the Sandero/Logan. Chassis/powertrains of course but even front doors for example are from the Sandero, much of the dashboard too. And being low-cost built, I'm sure they have great margins. Dacia is said to have double digit operating margin in Europe. And when I see it integrated to the Renault range elsewhere (and priced with a premium), I'm sure the profits are becoming really important.

    • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Oct 02, 2013

      If you count all the cars derived from the Logan, it sits in the world top 10. Yes, it's a money making machine for Renault/Nissan.

  • Lou_BC Another way to look at this is the upgrading of hardware and software. ...............The average length of car ownership is 10 - 12 years ....................The average lifetime ownership of a cell phone is 2.5 years. ................................................................... My phone will remain up to date, my vehicle won't. Especially if you buy a new "end of run" model.
  • TheEndlessEnigma "...we could be seeing a foundational shift in how Americans and car buyers see Stellantis products." yeah, I view Stellantis products as being off the cross-shop list. Stellantis is doing an excellent job of killing the Chrysler and Dodge brands and turning Jeep into something it isn't.
  • 2manyvettes 495 hp in a base C8 is more than enough. 800+ hp in a ZR1 is not worth the extra $60k (plus dealer markups). Unless the buyer is going for bragging rights. I remember when the C7 Grand Sport came out, and a reviewer got his hands on one and put it on the track at Lime Rock. His conclusion? Save yourself $15k and skip the Z06 and get a Grand Sport.
  • MaintenanceCosts Last year, I rented a closely related Audi A3. The overwhelming impression was of cheap build quality, although the drive wasn't bad. It had ~45,000 miles and the sunroof sunshade and passenger side power window were already not working correctly. Lots of rattles, too.
  • Lou_BC As others have pointed out, some "in car" apps aren't good or you pay for upgrades. My truck did not come with navigation. It was an expensive option. There's a lame GM maps app that you need to subscribe to "in-car" data. The map does not give you navigation other than to tell you where restaurants and gas stations are located. I'd want Android auto since I already pay for the phone.
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