Remember we told you a few weeks ago that Mahindra was working on altering the ground clearance of its vehicles? Well, apparently it has.
A few months ago Mahindra was forced to increase prices on its SUVs because of the new excise duty slab that applies to SUVs. The Mahindra Scorpio, Mahindra XUV500 and Mahindra Bolero were all affected by the 3% increase in excise duty under the government’s new definition of SUV.
That seems to have taken its toll on sales slightly. Although Mahindra Bolero sales haven’t dropped that significantly, the 3% increase in prices on the Scorpio and XUV500 seem to have slowed down their sales in the past two months.
Now Mahindra seems to have come up with a unique solution to circumvent this tax hike. An SUV, according to the government’s classification is any vehicle that has a length of over 4 metres, an engine capacity of over 1,500 cc and a ground clearance of over 170 mm. The vehicle has to meet all these three criteria. That definition applied to almost all Mahindra’s SUVs, except the Thar and Quanto. Such SUVs faced an excise duty hike from 27% to 30%. Also read:Budget Impact 2013: SUVs to face higher excise duty
Mahindra president Pawan Goenka was quoted as saying that the company was looking for a workaround, since lobbying with the government to roll back the tax had failed. We had predicted that Mahindra would go the most obvious route and lower ground clearance – and we even told you that they would do that by adding a removable part to the vehicle that would bring it below 170 mm. READ: How Mahindra may reduce ground clearance on its SUVs
According to IndianCarsBikes, Mahindra seems to have come up with a unique solution. It will add a “stone guard” which is a sort of engine shield under the vehicle that will bring the ground clearance to below 170 mm and, in the process, protect the engine from stones. This part has apparently been ARAI approved as well. Also read: Sub-Rs. 10 lakh SUVs may be spared hike
Nothing else changes with the vehicle – the rest of the vehicle will still have the same ground clearance. And if you think the low slung stone guard is a concern, well, you can just unbolt it. Problem solved. And watch out for a price reduction, hopefully, because these vehicles now no longer qualify as SUVs according to the government’s definition! Also read: How to INCREASE ground clearance of your car