Mahindra bets big on KUV100

19th Jan 2016 8:00 am

Mahindra anticipates huge demand for KUV100; to increase production capacity at Chakan plant.

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) launched its first petrol-engined model – the all-new KUV100 – on January 15, 2016. The launch comes exactly a month after the government imposed a temporary ban on the registration and sale of cars and SUVs with diesel engines above 2,000cc. The ban severely affects M&M which, until now, had only a diesel-engined product portfolio. The KUV100 can be seen as the company’s first move in its petrol strategy.
Dubbing it “as a new inflection point in the history of M&M”, Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group said that the KUV100’s launch is probably bigger than the launch of the game-changing Scorpio introduced in 2002. Designed and developed at the Mahindra Research Valley in Chennai, the sub-four-metre KUV100 fits more in the premium hatchback segment than in the compact SUV segment, largely due to its pricing strategy. In India, the KUV100 will go up against established hatchbacks such as the Hyundai Grand i10 and the Swift.
Given that each of these models consistently clock sales of more than 10,000 units a month, the KUV100 does seem to have a lot to do. However, what could work in its favour is the distinct crossover design and highly competitive price tag. The KUV100 has seven variants on offer – K2, K2+, K4, K4+,K6, K6+ and the top-spec K8. Prices for the petrol variants start at Rs 4.42 lakh and go up to Rs 5.91 lakh for the top-spec model. The base diesel is priced at Rs 5.22 lakh, going up to Rs 6.76 lakh (All prices ex-showroom, Pune).
Apart from its dealer network, M&M will be using various e-commerce platforms to sell the car and is already accepting bookings on Flipkart and its own e-retail platform, M2ALL. M&M will also start exports of the KUV100 to other right-hand-drive markets from April 2016 onwards. According to the automaker, the KUV has already received a good initial response and since its first reveal about a month ago, Mahindra has got 1.5 million views on its microsite for the KUV100 and almost 3,00,000 views in the last two days alone. The company also revealed that it has got 50,000 ‘hot’ enquiries and added that it will disclose the number of bookings in the next few days.
In line with these estimates, M&M has confirmed that it will ramp-up production capacity at its Chakan facility and in less than six months, the capacity is to increase from 9,000 units a month to 12,000 units. The Chakan plant currently produces 4,000 units of the flagship XUV500 every month. Speaking at the launch held at the Chakan plant today, Pawan Goenka, executive director, Mahindra & Mahindra said, “The launch of the KUV100 is a defining moment in the automotive journey of Mahindra. The KUV100 is our first foray into a grounds-up petrol engine and with it we are defining a new SUV sub-segment and targeting a new customer group.” 
Pravin Shah, president & chief executive (Automotive), Mahindra & Mahindra said, “We identified that today’s youth want an SUV that helps them stand out, one that reflects their personality and enhances their lifestyle. I believe the KUV100 will appeal to youth and first-time car buyers with its aggressive styling, trendy interiors, long feature list and attractive price point and emerge as a winner.”
At a time when diesel has been demonised in the country, a seemingly unfazed M&M is showing grit with the launch of the KUV100. True to the birds-of-prey nomenclature for its engine families, the company is optimistic that the mFalcon-engined KUV100 will lock in new buyers and give the company a new growth trajectory.

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