Renault India has quietly pulled the Captur SUV out of its showroom, marking the end of the road for its flagship product in India. Launched on November 6, 2017, at Rs 999,000 for the petrol model and Rs 11.39 lakh for the diesel, the Captur never really got a foothold in the domestic market and never really captured the discerning Indian consumer. The SUV recorded total sales of just 6,618 units (until March 2020), which is a paltry average of 228 units a month. The diesel model accounted for 82 percent of total sales.
Styled like its European counterpart (based on the Clio B platform), the India-spec Captur uses the Duster-based M0 platform and has its share of strengths including a great ride and a terrific diesel engine. However, the high sticker price, the lack of a premium cabin, and very capable competition meant buyers never really flocked to it. The final nail in the coffin was the enforcement of BS6 norms. The new norms saw Renault India abandon diesel engines entirely, thus removing one of the SUV’s few strengths.
The M0 platform-based Captur was recently updated using the M0+ platform and is currently on sale in Russia, but updating this for India would involve additional costs. Also, that's not something the company can afford to do for a flagging product that will also have to face renewed competition from the Kia Seltos and the new Hyundai Creta (which has 30,000 bookings in the bag since its mid-March launch).
Of course, like the Nissan Kicks, which is also based on the M0 platform, Renault could have kept its SUV alive as a petrol-only model. However, discontinuing the slow-selling Captur is a good move as this will allow the company to focus its efforts elsewhere. Unlike its Japanese partner, Renault has a fuller model line-up with the successful Kwid and its mega-hit, the sub-four-metre, seven-seater Triber SUV. Moreover, Renault is also about to launch a compact SUV called the Kiger (code: HBC) which seems to hold promise.
The company also hopes to keep the hardy Duster going. Although currently a slow-seller and a petrol-only model, Renault believes the nameplate still has credence in India and hopes to keep it alive until the new Duster arrives sometime in 2022. Watch this space for further updates.