Hyundai has already created some flutters in the SUV segment with its launch of the highly-anticipated Creta. The segment had became complacent with no new launches for over two years.
In the category, Ford’s EcoSport has been a massive success, with peak bookings running for over eight months at one point in time; followed by Renault’s runaway success, the Duster. All this was before numbers started dwindling.
Now with the Hyundai Creta in the market at a starting price of Rs 8.59 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi), things are about to change, and carmakers have realised that they need to pull their socks up or lose.
Hyundai has launched the C2 segment car at an attractive starting price of Rs 8.59 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi), which is nearly Rs 1.5 lakh lower than Nissan’s Duster twin, the Terrano.
Renault’s Duster is priced starting at Rs 8.30 lakh, which is more in line to the pricing of Hyundai Creta.
Ford EcoSport has been the segment leader simply because of its aggressive pricing, starting as low as sub- Rs 7 lakh in New Delhi.
But in the last few months, sales have been falling.
Duster’s sales have fallen 39.5% in June, compared to last year.
Ford’s EcoSport has seen a near 30% drop in sales in June this year, compared to the same month last year.
In the period from January this year to June, Duster’s sales have fallen 25.1%, while in the same period EcoSport’s sales have declined by 14.5%. Terrano’s numbers were also dismal, with sales down 34.6% in June compared to January.
In totality, in June, the SUV segment contributed a mere 9% to the total car sales.
On an year-on-year basis, sales volume of the C2 segment, which includes all these aforementioned SUVs, including some top-end sedans, declined 1.89%.
No new launches for the past two years in the segment is one of the reason for this fall in sales.
This is the reason the launch of the Creta has been the talk of the town for quite some time. Hyundai has managed to mop up nearly 19,000 bookings of the car since bookings opened in the run up to the launch.
This has woken up carmakers from their slumber to step up their game.
Signing big-ticket brand ambassadors to improve the visibility of their cars has been a major strategy of these companies.
Nissan launched a new ad campaign for the Terrano, starring Sushant Singh Rajput, on May 13. This also marked the launch of the limited edition Nissan Terrano Groove.
Nissan Motor India’s Managing Director, Arun Malhotra said, Our recent ad campaign with Sushant Singh Rajput was well received by the audience and has also spurred demand of the car.”
Renault, after the launch of the Hyundai Creta last week, revealed Ranbir Kapoor as its new brand ambassador. The timing is very indicative of Renault’s need to ensure that the Duster doesn’t lose sheen in the market.
Industry experts say these carmakers have clearly stepped-up their advertisement spend to challenge Creta’s launch.
An expert said, “Creta is a new car in the segment after two years, and the established cars in the segment can’t be complacent. They clearly understand the threat and have pushed up ad spends to attract visibility and sales.”
A series of emails to Renault were unanswered till the time of writing the story.
Ford, on the other hand, declined comment.
(All sales data via Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers – SIAM)