Sports utility vehicle (SUV) market leader Mahindra & Mahindra today launched its compact KUV100 starting at Rs 4.42 lakh (ex-showroom, Pune), pitting it directly against popular hatchbacks like Maruti Suzuki Swift and Hyundai Grand i10.
The vehicle, which will be the third product under four meters in length (Quanto and TUV300 being the other two) from the company has kept hatchback buying youth as its target customer who until today did not have the option of an SUV alternative.
Built at a cost of Rs 1,200 crore over a period of four years, KUV100 is the smallest Mahindra vehicle with seating capacity of a maximum of six people. This new SUV also marks the entry of M&M into the petrol segment the engine of which was developed in-house.
The KUV100 has to compete with the Swift (petrol) priced at Rs 4.66 lakh and the Grand i10 priced at Rs 4.64 lakh (both prices ex-showroom, Pune). The compact car segment, to which the Swift and Grand i10 belong, contribute 60% of the passenger vehicle market or 1 million units a year.
Besides petrol, M&M is also offering the regular diesel option on the KUV100 with prices starting at Rs 5.22 lakh. In comparison, diesel variants of Swift and Grand i10 are priced at Rs 5.85 lakh and Rs 5.58 lakh, respectively.
The KUV100 and the TUV300 (launched in July) are attempts by the Mumbai-based company to fill up gaps in its portfolio which for long depended on past generations models like Bolero, Xylo and Scorpio for volumes. Market share of M&M, which dipped to below 40% because of rising competition, is expected to shore up with these launches.
Pawan Goenka, executive director, M&M said, “The launch of KUV100 is a defining moment in the automotive journey of Mahindra much like the Scorpio. With this model, we are defining a new SUV sub-segment and targeting a new customer group”.
It is expected that the KUV100 and the TUV300 will contribute 30-35% of the volumes of M&M’s passenger vehicles’ (PV) offering. M&M’s premium offering XUV500 and the KUV100 will be built on the same line in Chakan. The company is hiking this line’s output to 12,000 units a month from 9,000 units a month.
For KUV100, M&M developed engines having dimensions similar to those seen on today’s hatchbacks, which are rated high for their peppiness as well as fuel efficiency. The ARAI rated mileage for the diesel variant of the KUV100 stands at 25.32kmpl whereas for the petrol model it is 18.15kmpl.
The vehicle will come with four variants, K2, K4, K6 and K8. The mFalcon G80 is the first ground up petrol engine developed by the company at its Chennai-based engineering centre. This 1.2 litre engine develops peak power of 82 bhp and peak torque of 114nm.
The new diesel engine, which is also 1.2 litre in size, is a turbocharged common rail mFalcon D75. It generates maximum power of 77 bhp with maximum torque of 190nm. Both engines get a 5 speed manual gearbox.
Both engines, which cost Rs 500 crore to M&M, meet BS-IV norms and are capable of meeting BS-V and BS-VI emission norms. With the new engines on the KUV100, M&M will have launched three of the six new engines it was working on.
The KUV100, where KUV stands for Kool Utility Vehicle and 100 denoting the series, will be the second all-new product launch by the Mumbai-based company this financial year (TUV300 being the other). The company already has launched eight products (including facelifts and commercial vehicles) so far this financial year.
Built on a monocoque chassis as the XUV500, this new SUV gets follow-me-home headlamps, LED fogs lamps on the exterior and piano black center console, driver seat height adjuster, multi-function steering wheel, infotainment system, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake force distribution system, driver and passenger airbags and engine immobilizer.
However, M&M may not have a monopoly for very long. Rivals like Maruti Suzuki, Honda, Tata Motors, General Motors, Fiat are working on compact SUVs, the launch of which will start as early as next month.
Car market leader Maruti Suzuki will fight back with the launch of Vitara Brezza, while Honda will launch the BRV at next month’s Auto Expo to be held in Greater Noida.