Mahindra and Mahindra is primarily the master of the utility vehicle segment. Almost all the Mahindra branded vehicles are SUV, be it the entry-level KUV or their flagship XUV 500. Yes, there are a few exceptions like Verito and Vibe but that’s about it. Now Mahindra UVs used to be quite popular in India and with time, the competition has caught on and has left them in the rearview. How is Mahindra losing the SUV game that they mastered over the years? We explain.
Losing out in positions
As per the sales data, Mahindra and Mahindra had five products in top ten UVs sold in 2017. Looking at the 2018 sales data, Mahindra has only two vehicles in the top 10 list. The sales data shows a constant decline in their UV market share. In 2011-12, Mahindra had a 55.09% of the UV market share. In 2012-13, the share was reduced to 50% and it remained only 29.2% in the 2016-17 period.
Why this drop?
Mahindra enjoyed being in a competition with the lower number of players in the segment for a long time now. Right now, players like Tata, Hyundai and Maruti have their products in the affordable segment, which are highly successful. With a wider range of choices, customers dispersed from the single brand that ruled the market for so long.
The competition has newer products, that are much more refined, reliable and well-finished. The market is inclining towards the newer products over the Mahindra vehicles. The company is yet to launch a popular new product or upgrade their current line-up with something major. All we saw in recent past was mild updates that the market did not find fascinating.
Their top-seller Bolero, which was their top-selling vehicle in India and best-selling UV in India. Mahindra used to sell around 10,000 copies of the Bolero, now the number has almost been halved. Also, the XUV 500 has not been updated with major changes since a long time and the arrival of Jeep Compass has taken away a good chunk of the pie away from the Mahindra’s flagship. The XUV 500 used to be the highest selling vehicle in the segment but not anymore.
Mahindra also could not crack the sub 4-meter compact SUV segment properly. After the launch of Quanto, they launched the TUV 300. The car did look promising but it could not compete with the competition like Ford EcoSport in the market. They tried again with the launch of NuvoSport, which is a heavily modified version of the Quanto but it failed in the market too. The sub 4-meter compact SUV segment is one of the fastest growing segments in India and is very important to gain on sales number. A lot of manufacturers are planning to jump in the segment in the recent future.
But the future looks bright!
Why so? Because Mahindra has some promising upcoming products in the line-up. The manufacturer showcased the rebadged version of the SsangYong Rexton at the 2018 Auto Expo, which will likely to bear the name XUV 700 in the future. It will sit at the top of Mahindra’s product pyramid and will take on the likes of Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour in the market. The SUV is expected to be extremely valuable for money and will get some first-in-segment features.
Another upcoming product from the brand is the Mahindra S201 compact SUV. Mahindra will launch a sub 4-meter version of the vehicle that will take on the Brezza and a long wheelbase 7-seater version of the vehicle that will take on the Creta. This will be a crucial vehicle for the Indian market as both the segments are quite popular. The car will come with new 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol and 1.5-litre diesel engine. The diesel engine will produce 125 Bhp, highest in the segment.
Another upcoming vehicle from the brand is U321 MPV, which will take on the Innova Crysta but will be priced much lower than that. The vehicle will get a monocoque body and will be available in 7 seat and 8 seat variants. Mahindra could also offer an automatic transmission with the MPV.
All the three vehicles have been spied testing in India and are expected to be launched soon. Mahindra is also working to upgrade the XUV 500 and it will be launched later this year in India.