Brazil is a battleground of two hot selling compact SUVs, the Renault Duster and the Ford EcoSport. In the Brazilian car market, the Renault Duster has managed to outsell the EcoSport in November 2012. The Duster sold 4,685 units in November, when compared to the EcoSport’s 3,633 units. Brazil is a very similar market compared to India, when it comes to the kind of cars sold. Given that Brazil and India are both emerging markets with a burgeoning middle class with increasing disposable incomes, the cars sold in both these countries are mainly low cost models.
For instance, both the Duster as well as EcoSport are low cost SUVs aimed mainly at emerging markets. Brazil also plays host to cars like the Toyota Etios twins, the Hyundai HB20(Very similar to the Hyundai i20) and the Honda Brio. However, most if not all cars sold in Brazil targeting the passenger car space come with petrol powered engines, much unlike the Indian car market, which is seeing a big tilt towards diesel powered cars over the past 3 years or so. Cars in Brazil feature engines that can run both in petrol as well the petrol-ethanol mix.
Brazil, being one of the world’s largest producers of sugar, just like India, has embarked upon an aggressive program wherein cars need to be able to run on a petrol-ethanol mix. This move by the Brazilian government is mainly to reduce the country’s fuel import bill. Coming back to the Brazil-spec Duster and EcoSport, both these SUVs sold in Brazil come with petrol powered engines. While the Duster is already available with a four wheel drive system, Ford will begin selling the EcoSport with an all wheel drive system in the coming months given that the American automaker already showcased the EcoSport AWD at the Sau Paulo Motor Show.
Interestingly, the Renault Duster is priced marginally lesser than the Ford EcoSport in Brazil.(The Duster sells for BRL 50,900 when compared to the EcoSport’s 53,490) In India though, there might be a twist in the tale as unlike Brazil, the Indian government doles out an excise duty cut to cars qualifying as small cars. The EcoSport is expected to qualify these norms with its sub 4 meter length. If that happens, expect the crossover to be priced under the Duster. However, given the EcoSport’s smaller size and a less powerful diesel engine, Ford India will have to price the EcoSport much lesser than the Duster if it wants to make a big splash in the extremely price conscious Indian car market.