Mahindra plans major product offensive

2nd Jun 2017 6:00 am

To launch Innova rival, the U321 MPV and refreshed Scorpio, XUV500 and KUV100 this year.

Mahindra has lined up a clutch of vehicles for launch this year in an effort to strengthen its grip in the utility vehicle (UV) segment. In 2016, the carmaker lost considerable ground due to rising competition from carmakers such as Maruti, Hyundai and Ford.

"With the way every player has come into the UV segment, we don't expect to maintain a very high market share. A couple of products that didn't perform as per our expectations are the primary reason why we are at around 30 percent. We are not happy with that and would like it to be higher," Pawan Goenka, managing director, M&M Ltd, said.

M&M's market share among utility vehicles fell to 29.20 percent in the last fiscal, from 38 percent in the previous year. Maruti expanded its presence to over 25 percent during the same timeframe, from 16 percent in the previous year, due to the resounding response for the Vitara Brezza.

Four models are likely to be launched this year, with the U321 MPV spearheading Mahindra's renewed push to expand its line-up. The carmaker has also lined up facelifts of the Scorpio, the XUV500 and the KUV100 for this year.

Although Mahindra expects to achieve a comfortable market share with the introduction of new models, Goenka admits it will never be as high as it used to be due to the rising competition.

The Scorpio facelift, which has been spotted testing, will feature an updated front. The 2.2-litre mHawk unit is expected to receive a bump in power by 20hp, to 140hp. Torque rating too, is expected to be higher. Similarly, the XUV500 facelift is touted to make 170hp from its diesel engine, up from 140hp at present.

As regards the refreshed KUV100, Mahindra is set to focus on improving its styling with the crossover featuring a cleaner design and a redone tailgate, a departure from the oddly proportioned current model.

The carmaker's MPV, codenamed U321, is being developed by Mahindra North American Technical Centre for launch later this year. The vehicle will go up against current segment leader, the Toyota Innova Crysta.

Other launches in the pipeline for 2018-19 include the new SUV codenamed S201, developed on the Tivoli platform licensed from SsangYong. Likely to be offered in both five- and seven-seat configurations, the SUV could share the silhouette with the Tivoli, including the doors, which are also likely to be carried over. Additionally, Mahindra is also said to be working on an all-new SUV based on the TUV300 platform which is longer.

Petrol still a weakness

Petrol engines are one of Mahindra's biggest weaknesses. Its 1.2-litre petrol engine, powering the KUV100, is the only one in its range. The carmaker has none for the larger vehicles such as the Scorpio and the XUV500.        

In an effort to extend the scope of petrol engines to larger vehicles, M&M is co-developing an all-new 1.5-litre petrol engine with SsangYong, which will power both the carmakers’ future range of vehicles. The powertrains will be identical in many aspects such as design, engineering and validation to maximise cost-sharing. Moreover, unlike its current range of petrol engines, the larger units could receive direct-injection with turbocharging.

Mahindra is evaluating the launch of the petrol variant of XUV500 between April and June 2018. Interestingly, depending on the market response received by the petrol XUV, Mahindra could also launch a petrol variant of the Scorpio. 

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