iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Manu P Toms , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, October 18, 2013
While the slowdown in the utility vehicle segment has taken the sheen off most vehicles that were going great guns till last year, new entrants such as Ford EcoSport and Renault Duster, and some old warhorses such as Mahindra Bolero, Scorpio and Toyota Fortuner are still going strong.

The Bolero retains its leadership position in the segment with sales of over 50,000 units in the first half of this fiscal. Its resilience stems largely from its high marketshare in rural pockets, which are relatively insulated from the overall economic slowdown.

The big success story so far this year has been Ford EcoSport, which has sold over 20,000 units since its July launch. It has over 50,000 pending bookings and a waiting period stretching into 2014.

Competitor Renault Duster’s sales have tapered off in recent months though it is still ahead of another long time favourite, the Scorpio. The Duster-based Terrano of Nissan has got 7,000 bookings within weeks after its launch.

Companies blame the 3% additional excise duty slapped on SUVs in this year’s budget for the overall decline. Riding on the wide price differential between petrol and diesel, utility vehicles had grown 52% to 255,896 units in the first half of 2012-13. But this year, sales dropped 4.8%.

“Our models have additi­onal duty, but they are holding on because of our strong semi-urban and rural presence,” said Pravin Shah, chief executive, M&M.