Mahindra may launch new mini-SUV at Rs. 5-6 lacs by Diwali

Monday 20 February 2012, 11:49 AM by

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), the leading Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) maker of India, may be gearing up to roll out a small SUV that will cost approximately Rs. 5-6 lacs around Diwali 2012. This mini-SUV, currently codenamed as S101, is being developed by the manufacturer in collaboration with its subsidiary Ssangyong at its Chakan plant.

In October 2011, reports had emerged that the company was working on this mini-SUV, though price points had been close to Rs. 4 lacs at that time. However, recent reports indicate pricing of close to Rs. 5-6 lacs and a Diwali launch date. If the car maker is able to roll out a SUV at such low costs, it will be able to replicate the resounding success that it enjoyed with its XUV 500 last Diwali.

Market experts speculate that the mini-SUV from M&M's stables will run on 1 L or 1.2 L petrol engine and 1.5 L diesel engine. The car will compete directly against the premium hatchbacks present in India today, though the extra power and ruggedness would be a good incentive for those buying the mini-SUV.

Rajan Wadhera, chief executive, technology, product development and sourcing, M&M, had earlier stated, "Work on a new platform should be concluded very soon and it will be on the compact side." However, he did not comment about the car as 'a matter of policy'. More than 100 engineers are currently working on the model, studying the styling, body design, trims, vehicle integration, suspensions, engine development and cooling systems.

According to a vendor who knows about the project, "M&M is banking on high volumes of at least 1,00,000-1,50,000 units per annum and the use of lighter and cost-effective material such as plastic in fuel tank, fender, and the front-end module to keep costs low. The vehicle may be somewhat like a mini-Gypsy (from the Maruti stable)."