Mahindra Scorpio completes ten years of its journey in India
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Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) began its journey in the Utility Vehicle (UV) segment with the Scorpio, which recently marked the 10th anniversary of its launch. At the time of conceptualisation in 1997, the company decided to launch a completely indigenous entry level model which could hold its ground in global market as well. In June 2002, the manufacturer launched Scorpio with an initial investment of Rs. 400 crores, which went up to Rs. 550 crores by the time its first unit rolled out.
Built on the basic body on ladder design, this robust SUV had rugged design which appealed to the Indian customers. The macho looks, robust powertrain, spacious seats, independent front suspension and the overall package coupled with lucrative price tag struck a chord with the buyers. However, the initial model was not free from faults either, as it faced issues with rear seat space, ride quality, overheating, braking, handling and a faulty steering rod. Nevertheless, the company sold as many as 1000 units in less than a week since it launched the model.
However, the car making company was quick on its toes to detect the faults and correct them as soon as possible. It replaced the steering rod with a stronger option, modified cooling system to sort out the overheating, installed double calliper brake boosters and altered the suspension system a bit. This swift initiative from the company added to its goodwill and helped boost the sales of the Scorpio. M&M was now left with only three faults to deal with, namely ride quality, handling and rear seat space.
2006 witnessed a major facelift to the Scorpio on both the mechanical and cosmetic ends. The cosmetic changes included the tail lights, which were redesigned to be taller and flanked the rear windscreen now. The main update, however, was the independent rear suspension unit after the car maker discarded as leaf spring suspension had been replaced, which resulted in improved ride quality.
Two years later, Mahindra launched the all new Scorpio, which came with improved interiors, fit and finish, and legroom for rear passengers. However, the major update was ditching the 2.6 litre CRDe powertrain for the best-in-class 2.2 litre mHawk unit. The new unit offered enhanced torque and was powerful despite being light and small.
Even though most of the issues had been resolved by the company, the body roll was still an issue with the SUV as the handling can be quite thrilling for an average driver. However, the Scorpio has been received very well in the Indian market both in the rural and urban segments. The car is the preferred choice for motorsport aficionados as well and has emerged victorious in the Raid de Himalayas several times.
Dr. Pawan Goenka, President, Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors, M&M, commented, "It (Scorpio) showed us that we had the ability to start from nowhere - no people, no process, no design knowledge - and build all those capabilities. I think the rub-offs and collateral benefits from the Scorpio were huge not only for the company but for the entire group."
Now, over 100 units of the car are sold daily in India and currently more than 4 lac Scorpios ply in the country. Many feel that the SUV's success can be credited to its strong build and design or the sensible pricing. However, its tremendous success can also be attributed to the fact that it is among the first locally-built SUVs of the country and has bonded with the owners at an emotional level.
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