India carmaker Mahindra is set to refocus on larger SUVs and multi-purpose vehicles (MPV) after it lost its crown as the nation’s largest SUV maker to Maruti Suzuki, thanks to the stupendous success of the Vitara Brezza. This new focus on larger utility vehicles, claims a LiveMint report, is because Mahindra is looking to avoid pushing deeper into an already crowded compact SUV market, where demand for Mahindra-branded vehicles has dropped in the past few years.
LiveMint claims that sources close to the carmaker say that three of the next four launches from Mahindra will be bigger SUVs or MPVs. One of these sources told the publication, “If you look at the products Mahindra will launch in the next two years, including the recently-launched Marazzo, most of the offerings except one will be above four metres. This strategy makes sense since Mahindra still leads the space when it comes to bigger SUVs.”
Another factor in the switch towards larger SUVs and MPVs by Mahindra is the implementation of the upcoming safety and emission norms, which will lead to a significant hike in prices of vehicles in 2020. According to LiveMint, another source said, “Post the implementation of the safety and emission norms in 2020, prices are sure to rise. We think we will be able to hedge ourselves against this risk by playing in a segment where buyers are less price sensitive.”
Mahindra currently has three SUVs in the pipeline, two of which are set to arrive by early 2019. The first of these two SUVs that will arrive in India is the re-badged Ssangyong Rexton SUV that is expected to bear the XUV700 badge, when it hits Indian roads, before Diwali. The XUV700 will be powered by a tuned version of Mahindra’s tried-and-tested 2.2-litre diesel engine, which will come paired to a manual gearbox and an automatic transmission from Mercedes.
The second confirmed launch, expected to arrive in early 2019, will be the only compact vehicle to be launched if LiveMint‘s knowledge of Mahindra’s upcoming plans is correct. The compact SUV codenamed S201 is based on the Tivoli, another one of the SUVs sold by Mahindra’s South Korean subsidiary Ssangyong. However, unlike the Tivoli, the S201 will measure in at under 4-metres in length. The S201 will rival Hyundai’s Creta SUV when it is launched in India.
LiveMint also claims that Mahindra is working on a 7-seater TUV300. However, this information is not accurate considering the TUV300 is a considered a 7-seater by Mahindra and measures in at under 4 metres in length, which would be contrary to LiveMint‘s own reports. Instead, the third SUV will be a rebadged version of the Tivoli, codenamed S202, that is expected to arrive later in 2019. The S202, like the S201, is expected to make use of Mahindra’s new 1.5-litre turbo diesel engine that debuted on the new Marazzo MPV.
LiveMint has not provided any clear details about the fourth vehicle in Mahindra’s large utility vehicle gameplan.