The Mahindra U321 MPV was seen road-testing a few months ago. It is an all-new vehicle being developed by Mahindra's North American Technical Center. Likely to be a direct rival to the Innova Crysta, the U321 MPV will feature monocoque construction and a spacious three-row seating layout.
Mahindra has seen a pronounced hit in its share of the UV pie in India in recent times. What once stood at 55.10 percent in 2011-12, declined to 29.20 percent in FY'17, a year-on-year shrink of 8.7 percent. While a lot of it is attributed to a non-optimal performance from some of its models, the rising competition has also had its role to play.
Now, with its energies channelised fully towards bringing out the all-round contemporary product, the U321 could be the vehicle that could put Mahindra back into growth track. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to invest Rs 1,500 crore at its Nashik and Igatpuri plants in Maharashtra in developing and manufacturing the U321.
In an exclusive interview with our sister magazine, Autocar Professional, Pawan Goenka, managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra, spoke about the company's confidence in the U321 and shared the strategy going forward for this year.
"We have a two-point strategy. One is to focus on how to improve the product that we have on the ground today, bring attractiveness to the consumer and get some additional volumes. The second focus is on the upcoming products that would be launched during the year," said Goenka.
"We have one major product launch in 2017 and that is the U321. We expect it to become a high-volume driver and add to our numbers that we are doing today. Success finally comes down to the right product, brought at the right price and its positioning, and that's what we will work on. We are pretty confident we should see a turnaround in our market share this year."
The U321 could be expected to be a highly competent offering from the company, helping it to click in just the right way. But, taking up the fight against a strong market competition, which has also strengthened in the last five years, would make it critically challenging for the company to get back to the same levels and regain the chunk of the market, which it used to hold in the past.
This new MPV will be one of Mahindra's most significant launches this year, carrying a lot of high stakes for the company. It will feature the all-new, 1.6-litre mFalcon diesel engine which will also power a slew of other future vehicles.
Also read: Mahindra plans major product offensive