The Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) segment in India is growing at a rapid pace, having increased in popularity within the last few years. Customer preferences in the country have clearly shifted from hatchbacks and sedans to soft roaders and SUVs. As an example, Renault’s Duster, a compact SUV, which was an unknown entity till the year 2012, has now become one of the top ten selling models for the second consecutive month. 6300 Dusters were sold in March 2013 and about 5,300 were delivered to customers in the next month of April. This is quite an achievement for a relatively new model, which is priced close to Rs. 10 lakh.
Interestingly, though the Renault Duster and Maruti Alto are at opposite ends of the top ten vehicles, the average amount of revenue generated on both sides is quite similar. While 19,847 units of the Alto hatchback were sold during April 2013, where the average price was Rs. 3.21 lakh, 5,362 units of the Duster were sold. However, since its average price is about Rs. 10.91 lakh, turnover from every vehicle was quite high. As a sum total, Rs. 637 crore were spent by Indian buyers on the Alto and Rs. 585 crore on the Duster. From these figures, it is evident that Duster sales are fast closing in as the overall market leader.
The new compact SUV segment is seeing a lot of frenetic activity these days. Ford EcoSport will be the latest vehicle to be slotted in this category, as the vehicle is expected to make its Indian debut in June 2013. With length less than 4 metres, the EcoSport will be able to avail tax benefits, allowing it to be competitively priced. It will be interesting to see the kind of competition EcoSport offers to current market segment leader Renault Duster.
Interestingly, the Mahindra Bolero, which is among the top selling SUVs month on month, sold 9,766 units in April. Other SUVs such as Mahindra Thar, Mahindra XUV500 and Toyota Fortuner are already selling well in the country. Another SUV that has been very popular among the urban and rural buyers since the last decade is the Mahindra Scorpio. During April this year, 4,700 units of the Scorpio were sold. This shows that Indians are clearly enamoured by the charm of big SUVs and soft roaders.