The lifecycles of car models may be reducing across segments as companies look to retain excitement through frequent new launches, reports Roudra Bhattacharya in New Delhi. However, even as an all-new model is scheduled to debut at the Auto Expo next month, Mahindra’s Scorpio has managed to hold on to its crown in the mid-size SUV market despite strong competition largely from Renault’s successful new entrant, Duster. What has worked to Mahindra’s advantage is a strong presence in rural and semi-urban markets, which accounts for up to 40% of Scorpio sales and 30% of its overall volumes, and where demand is up almost 20% today. The Scorpio sold 36,428 units in April to December 2013 compared with 35,955 units of nearest competitor Duster. Pravin Shah, CEO of Mahindra’s automotive business, told FE, “We have been listening to what the consumer wants. The strong volumes for the Scorpio are a combination of many factors and have proved that model lifecycles have not gone down for everybody. Over time we have taken the Scorpio from urban to semi-urban and now to rural markets.” While the Duster has seen monthly volumes gradually decline to about 3,500 units after initially leading with 5,500 units average monthly sales during the start of the year, the Scorpio has maintained steady volumes of 4,000 units a month.