On how Mahindra can give the Renault Duster SUV a serious run for its money
A day ago, there was this story in one of the big business newspapers about the 2012 Renault Duster SUV beginning price wars in the country due to its super competitive pricing. While the “super competitive pricing” is something that can be debated until the cows come home, Mahindra is one SUV maker that will be sharpening its knives to take on the Duster. More so, since the Duster is positioned bang in Scorpio territory, a car that is much more loaded and powerful than the Duster. Oh, and the top end Duster is just half a lakh lesser than the entry level XUV500 and this is precisely where the big opportunity lies for Mahindra.
Now, supposing that Mahindra is indeed putting the finishing touches on a cut price model of the XUV500, a best selling crossover that is now the flagship vehicle in the Indian car and utility vehicle major’s range, it could change the equations quite dramatically. Given the the Duster is priced about 60,000 rupees lesser than that XUV500, a cut price variant is certainly what it will take for the crossover to be in direct competition with the Duster. Once that happens, the XUV500, which is a segment higher than the Duster is clearly an SUV that can command more buyers.
Add to this, the word about the 2012 Duster SUV having an introductory price, which is prone to go up in the coming months. In such a scenario, a cut price XUV500 could really rustle up things quite a bit at the hustings. Even as you’re reading this, Renault India has managed to bag no less than 4,200 bookings across the country for the Duster. This is quite creditable given the limited reach that the French brand currently has in terms of dealership penetration. Whatever be the case, the Renault Duster has indeed managed to get a good start at the hustings.
What the big spurt of initial bookings can do is, it can result in a large number of Duster SUVs hitting the roads in the next month or so. And like the adage goes “A car on the road is worth ten in the showroom”. More visibility of the Duster on roads will give the SUV a shot in the arm as more prospective buyers might then make a beeline for Renault showrooms. The best form of marketing still remains putting the maximum number of cars on the roads and the Duster, at the moment, seems well placed to make best use of the spurt in bookings. To sustain this momentum though, will be a different story altogether.