Mahindra open to building smaller engines

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), the country’s biggest utility vehicle manufacturer, is open to building smaller engines than the one with which it launched the KUV1OO last week. The Mumbai-based sport utility vehicle major launched the KUV1OO with engines, which are nearly half in size when compared with other engines in its portfolio.

The KUV1OO is powered by 1.2-litre petrol and diesel engines, whereas diesel engines — 2.2 and 2.5 litre — power the Scorpio, the XUV500 and the Bolero.

When asked if the engines seen on the KUV1OO will be the smallest in M&M’s line up, Pawan Goenka, executive director, said, “Never say never… This is the smallest engine we have presently. But will it remain the smallest or not, we will see.” Targeted for being gas guzzlers and pollutants, big sports utility vehicles (SUVs) have repeatedly found themselves under the scanner of policy makers. SUVs like the Scorpio attract the highest excise duty slab of 30 per cent.

Also, sales of all diesel vehicles with engines having more than 2000cc are banned for sales in the Delhi and the national capital region for the time being.

All manufacturers are moving to sub-2 litre engines globally in order to make vehicles lighter and less polluting. Manufacturers in India, where the market is skewed towards compact hatchbacks, typically use a sub-1.2 litre petrol engine or a sub-1.5 litre diesel engine.

M&M has built a new platform of engine that can spin off several different formats of engines as per requirement. Presently of the six new petrol and diesel engines, M&M is yet to launch two to three engines in the market. The company developed these with assistance from Korean subsidiary Ssangyong Motors Company.

While the KUV1OO has the smallest diesel engine for a passenger vehicle within the M&M portfolio, it uses a turbocharger to generate high power. With no competition from anyone in the sub-Rs 7 lakh range, the KUV1OO competes with established hatchbacks like Maruti Swift and Hyundai Grand i10.