A production constraint amidst the unprecedented success of the Duster compact SUV has made Renault delay an elaborate post-launch advertising campaign planned to promote the vehicle.

With bookings now crossing the 18,000-mark, the waiting period has now stretched to over four-and-a-half months for certain colour and variant options, company and dealer sources said.

“Our production is sold out till November end. There was a mad frenzy at some dealerships with some unable to manage the crowd that showed up on launch day. At 2.5 to 4.5 months, the waiting period is highest for the two top diesel variants,” a company official said.

Renault currently makes about 4,500 units of the Duster a month, as part of a four-month production planning target.

Touted as the first product in the compact SUV segment and a make-or-break model for Renault, the Duster was launched in July at a starting price of Rs 7.19 lakh for petrol and Rs 7.99 for diesel variants (two power options, 85 and 110 PS). The target customer was those of entry sedans, who were looking for an SUV experience at an affordable cost.

The segment is expected to heat up further in the coming months. While Mahindra launched the Quanto last week, primary competition is expected from the Ford EcoSport that comes early next year.

With utility vehicles (UVs) sales going up 57 per cent to 2.07 lakh units between April and August, most carmakers, including Maruti Suzuki, Honda and General Motors, are reportedly working on new compact UV models.

Ad Campaign

Though the company had undertaken a pre-launch ad campaign, it had also prepared TV, print and Internet advertorials at a campaign cost of about Rs 15 crore after the launch. However, this second campaign has now been delayed to around Diwali in November.

“There is no point in creating further demand through advertising till we meet the first lot of bookings. Once we are more at level with the supplies, we will launch the ads. They will likely come around Diwali,” the company official said.

Sources said the high local demand may also lead the company to delay the launch of a 4X4 variant of the Duster for the local market, though the same variant is expected to be a part of Duster’s right-hand drive export markets such as the UK.

> roudra.b@thehindu.co.in