Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are the flavour of the season. In January 2019, Tata Motors and Nissan India will launch the Harrier and the Kicks, respectively.
The Harrier is a bold experiment by Tata Motors—Land Rover’s architecture, Fiat’s engine, and Tata Motors’ design. It’s a shape from the future. It’s a shape that, a few years ago, not many would have thought that a Tata, or any Indian company, could have designed.
But for the Harrier to make a mark for itself in the market, it has to be affordable for a lot of buyers. That means attracting those who would’ve otherwise chosen the XUV500 (starting price of Rs 12.57 lakh in Delhi) or even Hyundai Creta (the diesel variant starts at Rs 10 lakh), and that means a starting price of Rs 12-13 lakh (ex-showroom) for the Harrier. At such prices, it’ll be a steal. At prices any higher, the competitors—who have products that have established a trust in the market—will steal the show.
As an SUV, Nissan Kicks is as good as it can get—it has many elements from the company’s legendary SUV heritage. The Kicks is a crossover SUV—a vehicle with SUV styling, but based on passenger car platform—as are others in the Indian market, such as Renault Duster and Hyundai Creta. The Kicks is the Official Car of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 scheduled to be held in England and Wales.
For the Kicks to succeed in the Indian market and take some sales away from the Creta, it has to be priced competitively, very competitively. We believe an ex-showroom starting price of about Rs 8 lakh will be good enough for it to get prospective customers to the showroom. In the near term, the Kicks also needs an automatic gear (considering that about 30% sales in this segment are automatic cars).