Tata Motors' Nexon is proving to be a real game-changer, both for the company and in the overall utility vehicle market in India. Barely within seven months of its launch, the snazzy Nexon has sold a total of 27,747 units, comprising for 53.47 percent of Tata Motors' total UV sales of 51,891 units. Last month, the Nexon sold a total of 4,605 units, and averaging sales of nearly 4,000 units a month.
The company's overall UV sales performance also helped it double its market share to 5.63 percent in FY2018 from 2.45 percent in FY2017.
Making the con-Nexon with the compact SUV market
Tata Motors has been one of the quickest growing OEMs in the UV segment in FY2018, selling a total of 51,891 units (+178.20%) in FY2018, compared to FY2017 sales of 18,652 units. In the closing month of March 2018 alone, the company’s UV sales soared to 7,753 units, registering growth of 223 percent (March 2017: 2,401 units). The strong numbers are on the back of good demand for its Nexon and also the premium Hexa SUV, which also offers an automatic option in its trim-levels.
The company claims to have bagged over 25,000 bookings for the Nexon, which has pushed the waiting period up to seven weeks, in some locations, depending on the variant.
The variants which have contributed majorly to the sales numbers are the top XZ+ and XT trims, with the dual-tone paint shade option on the XZ+ being the most popular. The XZ+ (dual-tone) diesel variant, priced at Rs 962,000 (ex-showroom, Delhi), undercuts the top variants of the Maruti Vitara Brezza by Rs 11,000 and the Ford EcoSport by a whopping Rs 127,000.
Tata’s compact SUV is targeted at millennials and, according to dealer sources, over 65 percent of its customer base is less than 35 years old. Going by the feedback from dealers, it’s the Nexon’s contoured silhouette complemented by its funky, yet butch face that’s attracting buyers. Moreover, features like the Harman-sourced infotainment system and multi-drive modes only better the deal.
Nexon range to expand with AMT variant
Now, in an attempt to further widen the Nexon compact SUV’s appeal, Tata Motors is gearing up to launch the automated manual transmission- (AMT) equipped variant in early May 2018.
The company, which revealed the details of the latest Nexon variant, will initially sell the compact SUV with the AMT in only the top-spec XZA+ trim, but with both the petrol and diesel-engined models. But, based on Tata’s previous launches, expect a mid-spec XTA variant in the coming months.
Other than the addition of the new badge at the rear of the vehicle, there is nothing to differentiate the automatic model from the standard Nexon. However, Tata Motors has offered a new exterior paint shade with the new variant, a dual-tone orange and silver. Incidentally, the Nexon AMT displayed by the carmaker at the 2018 Auto Expo had the same exterior finish.
Both the 110hp, 1.2-litre turbo-petrol and the 110hp, 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engines are mated to the new six-speed automated manual transmission, which comes with a manual mode. The engines come with same the three multi-drive modes – Eco, City and Sport; the manual mode on the AMT automatically sifts the engine’s mode to Sport mode. In addition, the gearbox also comes with a hill assist function and a creep function to aid in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The addition of the new transmission has seen the weight of the petrol model increase by 15kg to 1,252kg. Expect a similar increase in the diesel Nexon’s weight from 1,305kg.
The top-spec XZA+ is equipped with features such as projector headlamps with LED daytime running lights, the same 16-inch alloy wheels shod in 215/60 tyres, front fog lamps, 60:40 split folding rear seats and a Harman-sourced 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is Android Auto compatible. A wearable smart key is also on offer.
Unlike its rivals, the Nexon is now the only compact SUV to offer an automatic option with both engines at the moment. The pre-facelift Ford EcoSport did have the option of a six-speed automatic on the petrol trim, though the facelift model has yet to receive it. The Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, another rival, only comes with the option of a 90hp, 1.3-litre diesel mated to a five-speed manual.
In terms of pricing, expect a premium of about Rs 50,000 over the current top-spec models – the XZ+ petrol (with the dual-tone roof) retails at Rs 902,000 while the XZ+ diesel costs Rs 989,000 (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi).
Also read: 2017 Tata Nexon review, road test