If you are closely following the ‘safer cars for India’ initiative carried out in the interest of the Indian automobile industry, you must be aware of Mahindra’s commitment in that direction. In recent times, Mahindra has raised its focus on safety with its new-generation utility vehicles. The recently-gained 4-star ratings for the Marazzo and Thar and 5-star ratings for the XUV300 and XUV700 are the proofs for that.
Talking about the most recent of them all to AutoCar Professional, the 5-star Global NCAP rating for the Mahindra XUV700 is like icing on the cake, for the new flagship SUV from Mahindra has several other attributes under its hat. However, this achievement was not an easy one, for the Indian SUV maker had spent a lot of time acing the SUV with utmost perfection in all the parameters. There were many measures taken to make sure the XUV700 scores a whole 5-star rating in the crash tests, and shedding down the weight of the SUV was one such measure.
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Contrary to the misconception that heavier cars are always safer, Mahindra decided to reduce the weight of the XUV700 by almost 110 kg to attain the 5-star rating. According to R Velusamy, chief of Global Product Development at Mahindra, reducing the weight of the XUV700 to such an extent was made possible by using high tensile steel, plastic composites for the tailgate and its innovative design.
Mahindra faced many challenges to reduce the weight
Velusamy suggested that excessive use of aluminium could have reduced more weight, but would have added to the cost of production. It is the reason why Mahindra had decided to use advanced high-tensile steel, ultra-high-tensile steel and boron steel in the majority of the chassis of the vehicle to keep the body-in-white mass of the XUV700.
For those who don’t know, body-in-white mass is essentially the weight of the vehicle’s chassis without body panels, engine and interior. Other measures that helped Mahindra in bringing down the weight of the XUV700 are aluminium for the engine blocks, use of alternate materials for body panels like doors, fenders, bonnet and suspension and use of magnesium in the cross-bar beam and steering wheel.
However, while bringing down the weight was indeed a priority in the right direction to enhance the safety of the vehicles, Velusamy stressed the fact that the quality of the vehicle should not be compromised while doing so, with optimal NVH levels, and fine ride and handling. Rather than just focusing on bringing down the weight of the vehicle by making compromising on the build quality, Mahindra has showcased that we need to find newer innovative ways to reduce the vehicle’s weight.
R Velusamy is not the only person from the automotive industry of India to think in this direction. According to the words of Mr C V Raman, Chief Technology Officer, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the new generation platform and engines from Maruti Suzuki feature plastic-made fuel boxes for reducing the weight by 30 per cent and corrosion-related SUVs.
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