EXCLUSIVE: Mahindra Scorpio N pickup (Z121) concept to debut in South Africa

    The unveiling will take place on August 15; production version expected to arrive by early 2025.

    Published On Jul 29, 2023 05:13:00 PM

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    Mahindra Scorpio N pickup (Z121) concept to debut in South Africa
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    Mahindra is all set to unveil a pickup concept at its annual August 15 extravaganza and recently teased the concept. This year’s event will be held in South Africa and will showcase some more of the brand’s future mobility plans.

    Codenamed Z121, the new pickup will be based on the Scorpio N platform but with a longer wheelbase to accommodate a larger load bed. For reference, the Scorpio Classic has a 2.6-metre wheelbase, whereas the pickup version – called the Getaway in India and the Pik Up in South Africa and Australia – has it extended to just over 3 metres. 

    On the production version, which is set to arrive only by early 2025, expect single- and double-cab body styles and a regular as well as a tray-back bed, which is popular in some export markets. Also likely will be a powertrain line-up derived from the SUV, so petrol and diesel, manual and automatic and 2WD and 4WD could all be offered. The Scorpio N based pickup will use the Pik Up moniker but, for now, it’s not clear if the new pickup would replace the current model, or would sell alongside it. 

    Mahindra’s International Ambition 

    Mahindra is no stranger to international car markets, but with its new-generation products rolling out, the homegrown automaker is looking at global markets with renewed focus and vigour.  With the upcoming global debut of the Z121, Mahindra can make a strong statement about how this pickup is pretty much going to be tailored to South Africa, a region that loves pickups – or bakkies as they are locally called – and a market of rising importance to the company.  

    Mahindra has had a presence in South Africa since 1996, and now also has an assembly plant there. Of late, it has seen a big uptick in business and, according to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA), Mahindra was the fastest growing automobile brand for the year 2022. The report states that compared to 2021, Mahindra increased its sales volume by over 78 percent – the highest of all the brands of vehicles that report their sales to NAAMSA, and more than five times the market average.

    The locally manufactured Pik Up forms the mainstay of Mahindra’s line-up in South Africa, so it’s clear why the company is keen on a new pickup version of its Scorpio N. Besides South Africa, Mahindra is also present in a little over a dozen other international markets and is actively pushing its business in Australia, where it began in 2005 and recently opened its 50th dealership, as well as introduced the XUV700 and the Scorpio-N alongside its Pik Up range. Given that pickups are also popular in Australia, where they’re popularly called utes, it’s a safe bet that the Z121 would find its way Down Under. 

    Mahindra was also recently granted court clearance to sell the newly redesigned Roxor in the US again. The company was locked in a legal battle with Jeep over the Roxor’s design, which Jeep says infringes its trademark. However, Jeep lost the latest infringement case, clearing the path for Mahindra to sell its off-the-road ATV there. The US region is certainly on Mahindra’s radar, but for now, the company only sells its tractor and ATV products. If it can sort out its design battles with Jeep, the company’s global push could see it enter the US passenger market at some point in the future. 

    Indian-built cars in demand in South Africa

    Data source

    The majority of South Africa’s car imports come from India – using NAAMSA data, cars.co.za, a leading South African automotive platform, showed that in 2022, over half of South Africa’s imports came from India, while the next closest region was China with an 11 percent share. The number is significant given that around 65 percent of small vehicles sold in South Africa last year were imports and not locally built. The region will thus be a key international market for Mahindra. 

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    Mahindra Cars

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