Few years back, Mahindra & Mahindra was going hand-in-hand with Renault in the Indian auto market. Their joint product Logan failed to set the profits soaring and finally both the automakers parted ways. Renault went ahead and came back as a solo entity with a plant in Chennai. In the meantime, Mahindra & Mahindra rebadged the “spartan-looking” Logan and brought it out as Verito.

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Mahindra & Mahindra’s Scorpio has occupied the pole position in the Urban SUV sales charts for a considerable time now. Now, their former-partner has come back to steal the title from them, and their Duster SUV is increasingly becoming the face of Urban India. The official figures speak of around 4700 Scorpios against near-about 6300 Dusters in this March. Surprisingly, the Duster was launched last July, and is yet to complete a year in the market. It remains the workhorse of Renault, accounting for nearly 80% of their sales.

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The Duster has been breathing down the Scorpio’s neck ever since its launch. A fall of 1.3% was recorded in the Scorpio’s sales last year after Duster’s launch, with the numbers taking a dip from 50,844 in 2011-12 to 50,168 in 2012-13. Now it seems that the annihilation has been completed, with the Scorpio no longer topping the SUV hierarchy. This has happened despite the Duster being pricier at 8.94 lakhs against the Scorpio’s 7.54 lakhs. Both the prices are for the entry-level Diesel variants. Another challenge that Renault were up against was the lesser number of dealerships, with them possessing only 100 sales points as compared to M & M’s 250 franchises for the Scorpio.

Mahindra & Mahindra have been mum on the recent developments, but a quiet comeback seems to be on the cards. Work has commenced on an All New Scorpio, which might be unveiled in 2015. M & M is expected to play to its strengths, rugged-machismo being the word for Scorpio. Meanwhile, Duster is also expected to undergo a few changes to be brought to the market as a variant. Renault aims to exploit the growing demand of SUVs in India.

The days of just Tata Sumo and Tata Safari as well as M & M Scorpio are passé. Which SUV is your pick?



Source: Business Standard




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