Published on May 12, 2021 07:00:00 AM
The Mahindra Marazzo MPV will eventually be phased out, as will the KUV100 NXT micro-SUV, a company source tells us. This is part of a bigger move by Mahindra to jettison its slow-performing models and focus on more lucrative areas of the market, namely several popular SUV segments.
However, in an official statement the company has ruled out the discontinuation of these models anytime soon. “The Marazzo and the KUV 100 are an integral part of our product portfolio. In fact, we have invested and launched the BS6 versions of both the Marazzo and the KUV100. We keep upgrading our products from time to time and one can soon expect the Marazzo to be launched with an AutoShift transmission. The KUV100 is popular in many global markets and we are delighted with its increasing export volumes. All these clearly clarify our commitment to these brands as a part of our product portfolio.”
The investment by the company in these models over their lifecycles could see them through till 2023, but after that Mahindra is unlikely to spend further on upgrading these models to meet the next stage of emission standards that come into effect that year.
The Mahindra Marazzo has proven itself as a robust and capable MPV, with a refined new 1.5-litre diesel engine, good equipment, a comfortable ride and ample space, but that unfortunately hasn’t translated to strong sales numbers. Since January 2021, the MPV has sold just 711 units, which is miles behind the Toyota Innova Crysta (19,300 units) and the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga (37,286 units) in the same period (see table, below). One of the reasons for the Marazzo and KUV100’s poor sales numbers is because the severe supply chain constraints the company is facing has prioritised production in favour of the more lucrative SUVs.
Production constraints aside, it's the Marazzo’s hugely popular rivals that are precisely the reason for its underwhelming performance, flanking it on either side of its price range in a pincer attack, as they have for many MPVs that have come and gone. In fact, Mahindra’s previous MPV offering, the big and tough Xylo, met a similar fate.
The result is that the Mahindra Marazzo will not receive any more major updates, and this includes the long-planned introduction of a powerful 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine from the brand’s new mStallion range that was showcased at Auto Expo 2020. This state-of-the-art new engine will instead make its debut on the all-new Mahindra XUV500 (S301), which will be launched in 2024. However, one previously planned update that will see the light of day is the Autoshift or AMT option for the Marazzo.
Additionally, as Mahindra’s JV with Ford was also suddenly axed at the start of this year, the latter’s MPV, which was to be based on the Marazzo, is also effectively no more.
|January-April 2021 sales|
Along with the Marazzo and the Alturas G4, the brand’s other slow-selling model is the KUV100 NXT. Positioned as a micro-SUV, the KUV currently has no direct competitor – the Tata HBX has yet to be launched – but instead rivals mid-range hatchbacks and cross-hatchbacks.
The KUV100 was perhaps a reach too far for Mahindra, taking it out of its comfort zone of SUVs and attempting to recreate that magic in the hugely cut-throat hatchback segment, where customers are far more risk averse and tend to stick with tried-and-tested brands. The result was a rough-around-the-edges product that was neither a hatchback nor an SUV, rather than the best of both worlds.
The KUV100 will, however, live on for a while longer as the eKUV, a prototype of which we have already driven. This low-voltage EV is intended for use as a city runabout and effectively replaces the e2o and e2o Plus. Though a price was revealed at Auto Expo 2020, the eKUV is expected to be formally launched in early 2022, with a claimed real-world range of 147km, a 15.9kWh battery and roughly 55hp of power.
The petrol-powered KUV100 NXT is also exported to certain markets from India, and therefore, though domestic sales are currently slow, production for export is expected to continue in the coming years.
A little while back, Mahindra had registered a trademark for the name XUV100, but company insiders have confirmed that it was done merely to secure the name and the company has no plans to revisit this sub-compact micro-SUV segment again any time soon.