Utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra, which is developing two new platforms in association with Korean subsidiary Ssangyong Motor Corporation (M&M), may bring to the Indian market a compact crossover utility vehicle (CUV) in 2015. Overall, the company would add on three to four completely new vehicles to its portfolio over the next three years.
Pawan Goenka, president (automotive and farm equipment sectors), M&M, said, “A new vehicle is being developed on the X100 platform. Since the project is being led by Ssangyong, they will have the first right to introduce it. It is expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2015.”
Goenka declined to share the specifications of the CUV. However, industry sources indicated it is likely to be powered by a 1.6-litre diesel engine, and would take on the likes of Renault Duster and Ford Ecosport.
In what was the largest outbound deal recorded in the domestic auto industry, M&M had acquired 70.03 per cent stake in SMC FOR Rs 2100 crore in November last year. It is jointly developing two new platforms with the Korean utility vehicle maker and is looking at leveraging SMC’s strong research and development capabilities to develop products to expand its portfolio for global markets.
Before Diwali this year, M&M would introduce in India the first product from Ssangyong portfolio Rexton, which will be priced upwards of Rs 20 lakh. The company has also scheduled for launch mini sports utility vehicle Quanto on September 20, of which it expects to sell 1500-2000 units in the initial months.
Goenka informed, “In developed markets UVs account for a quarter of passenger vehicle sales. The shift from smaller cars to compact vehicles is now happening in India. We want to be an end-to-end player.”
The UV segment currently accounts for 16-17 per cent of the PV industry in India. With the category recording growth of over 53 per cent till July this financial year, auto majors across the board are mulling product launches.
M&M is additionally considering commencing assembly operations for Mahindra products in Russia over the next two years. Goenka said, “We are in talks with a distributor in Russia and will finalise plans in six months. We will then need two years to start CKD operations.”