French car maker Renault has lost the seventh position in the fast-growing Indian car market to rival Ford as the company's volume has been under pressure for several consecutive months. It now ranks eighth in the domestic car market.
Data for the first five months of the calendar year 2018 shows that American car maker Ford sold about 44,000 units of passenger vehicles (cars and utility vehicles) in the domestic market compared to about 36,000 units sold by Renault. These are wholesales to company dealerships. Indian companies do not share data of retail sales made to end buyers. In 2017 full year, Renault had sold 112,492 units in the country, way ahead of Ford’s 87,587 vehicles.
Renault was ahead of Ford even in the 2016 calendar year. Launch of a SUV styled small car Kwid in September 2015 had helped Renault build significant volumes to help grab a higher market share in the Indian market and overtake rivals to occupy the seventh spot. From an eleventh position in FY15, the French car maker quickly climbed to an eighth spot in FY16 overtaking competitors like Volkswagen, GM and Ford. In the following year, it further improved its rank to a seventh position.
The brand's volume, however, came under pressure in second half of calendar year 2017 and has not yet seen a trend reversal. Renault's wholesales to dealerships have not grown for the past twelve consecutive months in spite of the industry's high single-digit growth. In most of these months, the car maker saw a double-digit decline. Volumes of its best seller the Kwid have not grown for a while now as competition from new entrants like Tata Motors Tiago gained pace.
The launch of Captur SUV in November 2017 did not support volume expansion either. Captur has not even been able to match the volumes that the company’s four-year-old SUV Duster brings till date. Ford has seen stable volumes for last couple of calendar years but the launch of the new EcoSport SUV last year and the recent launch of the Freestyle compact utility vehicle is helping it clock a growth this calendar year.
"Our continued focus on executing our strategic pillars of a strong brand, right products, competitive cost and effective scale have ensured our growth which continues to be better than the industry," Anurag Mehrotra, presiden, and managing director, Ford India said early this month.