It’s official! Mahindra has confirmed the launch of the Ssangyong Korando and Rexton in the Indian market. The country’s largest utility vehicle maker wants to give the ailing South Korean firm a fresh lease of life by selling its models in India as well as Africa.
The Economic Times quotes Mahindra Group Managing Director Anand Mahindra as saying, “The Indian market is a very, very high-potential market for products of the kinds Ssangyong makes…people are ready to spend more for more sophisticated products.” He added that SUVs suit the terrains of Africa and the joint team of Ssangyong and Mahindra will make a strong impact in the African markets. Also read: SUVs in India
On March 15th, 2011, M&M completed all necessary formalities for acquiring a 70% stake in South Korean auto-maker SsangYong Motor Company (SMC). The deal cost Mahindra $463 million, or about Rs. 2,105 crore. After the acquisition was completed, Mahindra had proposed a five-point agenda for SsangYong which included harnessing of synergies between the two auto-makers.
Ssangyong Rexton has already been spotted testing in India various times. The Indian version might even come with tail lights lifted from the Mahindra Scorpio. According to sources, the Rexton, will feature a 2.7-litre turbo diesel motor sourced from Mahindra’s defence vehicle, the Axe. Related: Mahindra Ssangyong Rexton spied with Scorpio tail lights
The engine is mated to a 5-speed manual transmission (it also comes with an automatic gearbox) and produces 183 hp of maximum power and 402 Nm of maximum torque. The Rexton can accelerate from 0 – 100 kmph in 11.6 seconds and reach a top speed of 181 kmph. Four-wheel drive (4WD) and disc brakes on all four wheels are standard in the European spec.
In European markets, the Rexton is priced at EUR 39,990 (Rs. 23.88 lakhs). The India spec might bear a slightly cheaper price tag and will compete against the Toyota Fortuner and Hyundai Santa Fe.
The Rexton also comes with plenty of tech though we are not sure if the India-specific Rexton will sport all of these features. The safety and tech features include tyre pressure monitoring system, Enhanced Parking Brake Technology, Electronic Toll Collection System and a forward collision warning and avoidance system.
Besides, the Rexton’s engine is fitted with catalyzed diesel particulate filter and VGT (Variable Geometric Turbine) turbo charger that eases Mahindra’s task of making the vehicle comply to Bharat emission standards upon launch. The India-bound Rexton is expected to be a capable, all round SUV with good on-road and off-road performance.
The Ssangyong Korando sold in European markets is a 5-seater soft-roader powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine that puts out 175PS of maximum power. The European-specific Korando is loaded with a slew of safety features that has helped it bag a 5-star Euro NCAP rating. The safety features include ABS, EBD, traction control, 6 airbags and multiple storage options.
The Korando has a monocoque chassis, (the first monocoque SUV produced by Ssangyong) with sub-frames making it handle less SUV-like and more car-like. But the Korando is most popular for its acclaimed fuel economy delivering 16 km/litre, which might make it a hot-seller in India. Also read: Ssangyong Korando photo gallery
Mahindra might consider assembling the Korando in India and could offer it in both two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions. Pricing is not yet known, though, expect it to be in the range of Rs. 15 – 20 lakh.
Mahindra-Ssangyong have also marked their entry into EVs (electric vehicles) after showcasing the electric version of the Korando at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The electric Korando will be based on Ssangyong’s Pure EV Electric Driving System, which has a driving range of 180 km and can achieve a top speed of 150 km/hr. Whether the Korando electric will make into production in the near future depends on various factors best known by the two firms. Read more: Mahindra Ssangyong Korando electric car showcased