Snapshot: Mahindra & Mahindra, the market leader in the Indian market’s SUV segment, will launch not one, not two, but three new SUVs in the sub-10 lakh rupees space. Of these new SUVs, two (S101 and S202) will sit in the sub-4 meter, compact segment while the other (U301) will be positioned alongside the best-selling Bolero MUV.
Both the S101 and S102 SUVs will be priced in a range between 4.5 and 8.5 lakh rupees, and will serve as soft roaders. In that light, a monocoque construction will be standard fare on both the S101 and S102 SUVs. Both SUVs are being developed jointly by Mahindra and South Korean SUV maker Ssangyong, which was acquired by Mahindra a few years ago.
The platform on which the S101 and S102 SUVs are based is an all-new item. The SUVs are likely to be sold with both petrol and turbo diesel engine options. Since the S101 is aimed at setting the cat amongst pigeons in the B-Segment hatchback space in India, petrol engines are a given for this SUV.
With the S101, Mahindra plans to offer B-Segment hatchback buyers an affordable, yet more imposing option in the form of an SUV for small car money. The S102 however, will be Mahindra’s competitor to the best selling Ford EcoSport compact crossover, and hence, this SUV will occupy the higher price segment in the 4.5-8.5 lakh rupee bracket.
The engines for the S101 and the S102 are likely to come out of the range of petrol and diesel engines being jointly developed by Mahindra and Ssangyong. Mahindra’s interest in equipping its cars with the automated manual transmission (AMT) is evident from the Quanto equipped thus. The AMT could make an appearance on S101 and S102 models.
Notably, the S102 SUV is likely to be previewed in the next few weeks in the form of the Ssangyong X100 crossover concept that is all set to be unveiled at the upcoming Geneva Motor Show. With the Ssangyong X100 and the S102 coming off the same platform, the Ssangyong crossover is likely to reveal the direction that the S102 will take.
The Ssangyong crossover based on the X100 platform will be launched globally in early 2015. In view of that timeline, expect both the S101 and the S102 SUVs to be launched in India during 2015-16. Mahindra has already begun extensively testing the S101 SUV in India. Click here for spyshots.
The U301 on the other hand, will be a rugged SUV in the body-on-ladder mould. The U301 will be positioned alongside the Bolero, and is expected to priced in a range similar to that of India’s best selling MUV. Other details and the launch time frame for the U301 are unknown at this point in time.
We expect the U301 to replace the slow-selling Quanto compact SUV, which although featuring a body-on-ladder chassis and a rear wheel drive layout, is neither here (crossover) nor there (full fledged SUV) in terms of positioning and appeal. So, by 2016, Mahindra will have SUVs to suit every pocket in the sub-20 lakh rupee segment.