The interweb is agog with the rumour that the country’s largest utility vehicle maker Mahindra, is mulling the introduction of the Korando C SUV, as an alternative to the likes of the Renault Duster and the upcoming Hyundai iX25 SUVs. Globally though, the Korando C 5 Seat SUV sits above the likes of the Renault Duster and the Maruti Suzuki S-Cross, featuring turbo diesel (181 Bhp-360 Nm) motor that displaces 2 liters. So, if Mahindra doesn’t downsize the engines of this vehicle, the Korando C might not really rub shoulders with the Duster-iX25-S-Cross combine and would rather see eye to eye with the Skoda Yeti.
Other pertinent questions raise their heads too. When Mahindra has the likes of the Ssangyong Tivoli and the S102 code-named crossover to sit in the segment that the Renault Duster is a part of, why would the automaker bring the Korando C in, especially considering the fact that the vehicle is much older (2010 market launch for the 3rd/current generation model) despite its recent facelift in 2014. Also, wouldn’t it be more likely for the Korando C to be plugged in between the XUV500 and the Ssangyong Rexton in terms of price positioning. In terms of size, the Korando C sits squarely in Yeti territory, what with its 4.4 meter length and 2.65 meter wheelbase.
Pricing is crucial in a price sensitive country such as India, where initial pricing makes or breaks a car. To keep the Korando C affordable, assembly through the completely knocked down (CKD) route is one option that Mahindra would be keen to take. A web report goes on to suggest localization to the tune of 40-50 % for the Korando C, a figure that is highly unlikely for a vehicle that will take the CKD assembly route. Even assuming high localization, the time for prepping up vendors to deliver top notch quality is an affair that takes time. And we’re not China yet, nevermind Make-In-India.
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For a “localized”, CKD assembled vehicle whose camouflaged test mules have yet to be spotted in India, a market launch in 2015 is an unlikely prospect, and that’s putting it mildly. If anything, an introduction in 2016, with positioning between the Mahindra XUV500 and the Ssangyong Rexton is where we’d hedge our bets. So, until official word from Mahindra emerges, the Korando C’s India coming is purely a matter of conjecture. Smart money will ride on the XUV500 getting more premium, what with Mahindra already showcasing a diesel hybrid variant of the crossover while an automatic variant is in the wings. This, could be what bridges the gap between the current XUV500 and the Rexton.