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Future models - Mahindra - XUV500

Mahindra’s first global SUV was tested here

Main Mahindra men: M&M’s president of automotive and farm equipment sectors Pawan Goenka (left) with Mahindra automotive division chief executive Rajesh Jejurikar.

India’s Mahindra confirms Australian testing for new XUV500 as MY11 Pik-Up arrives

Mahindra logo6 Sep 2011

By MARTON PETTENDY

INDIA’S number one utilitarian vehicle maker Mahindra has revealed that its first global SUV, which will go by the name ‘XUV500’ (pronounced ‘five double-oh’), underwent durability testing in Australia.

Currently represented here only by its one-tonne Pik-Up utility range – a facelifted MY11 version of which has just been released with a $1000-lower base price of $20,999 drive-away – Mahindra says the XUV500 will be its first transverse-engined model as well as India’s first indigenously-developed monocoque SUV.

That means the yet-to-be revealed unibody SUV will not be a direct replacement for the Scorpio, which was once mooted for sale in Australia and – along with the Bolero and Xylo people-mover – has helped Mahindra snare a dominant 60.5 per cent share of India’s massive SUV market.

In fact, Mahindra & Mahindra says the XUV500 is an all-new SUV aimed at Generation X that was designed to create an all-new vehicle category between the Scorpio and high-end SUVs, and will be the first in a series of next-generation SUVs “that will set the stage for the emergence of M&M as a force to be reckoned with in the global automotive arena”.

They could include the XIV-1 compact SUV from South Korea’s SsangYong Motor, which exited court-administered receivership earlier this year under Mahindra ownership, and/or a mid-size 2013 replacement for the same brand’s larger Kyron and Rexton SUVs, codenamed D200.

46 center imageFrom top: Mahindra Scorpio, Bolero and Xylo. Far bottom: Pik-Up.

SsangYong will stage the global debut of the B-segment XIV-1 concept (formerly known as the XUV-1) at this month’s Frankfurt motor show, where it will also unveil a petrol-powered version of its new C200 Korando compact SUV and the dual-cab SUT-1 utility, which will replace the Actyon Sports ute here early next year and could in turn form the basis of Mahindra’s next Pik-Up.

SsangYong is also believed to be developing to be a number of passenger cars under Mahindra ownership, and it is clear the XUV500 will not be a rugged SUV based on an existing utility model in the same way the Pik-Up underpins the Scorpio, the Mitsubishi Triton form the basis of the Challenger and Nissan’s Pathfinder is based on the Navara.

While Ford Australia is also developing such a 4x4 wagon based on the locally designed T6 platform that spawned the upcoming new Ranger and Mazda BT-50, both General Motors and Isuzu are again developing a robust SUV based on the their respective new Colorado and D-Max ute models due here early next year.

Mahindra said design and development of the XUV500 was influenced by customers across the globe, following consumer research in various unnamed Western markets and product testing and validation across Europe, South Africa and Australia.

Codenamed W201 before being christened the XUV500 on September 5, the sub-continent’s all-new crossover wagon will go on sale simultaneously in India and South Africa. Mahindra has not revealed exactly when, but Australia – another right-hand drive country – is likely to be next in line.

“We are all set to create a new milestone with the launch of the Mahindra XUV500 which truly embodies and encapsulates the essence of the Mahindra Rise philosophy,” said the president of M&M’s Automotive and Farm Equipment sectors, Dr Pawan Goenka.

“Having extensively tested and validated our product with global and Indian customers alike, I am happy to add that we will simultaneously launch the XUV500 in South Africa under the same brand name. I am confident that the XUV500 will follow in the footsteps of its illustrious predecessors to evolve into an iconic brand.”

The ground-breaking new model was designed entirely in-house at Mahindra Research Valley, the $US12.5 billion Mahindra Group’s R&D facility in Chennai, and will be produced at Mahindra & Mahindra’s “future-ready” manufacturing plant at Chakan in Maharashtra.

Mahindra said the XUV500 is “contemporary, truly stylized with sophisticated technologies and incorporates the best-in class global manufacturing quality.

“In fact, all research and development activities for this global SUV were aligned with global standards of quality, technology, testing norms, regulations and emissions from the very start,” it said, adding that its development “challenged the limits and conventional thinking, and involved the innovative use of resources”.

“The Mahindra brand has evolved over time,” said M&M Automotive Division chief executive Rajesh Jejurikar. “Today it enjoys the strongest equity in the SUV category.

“Therefore, Mahindra will now be the lead brand for the XUV500. Additionally, with the XUV500 we are attempting to create a new category in the SUV segment, that will not only challenge the conventional but will also certainly translate into double customer delight."The Mahindra brand is represented in Australia, where it now has 25 dealers, by Mahindra Automotive Australia, a joint-venture formed between M&M and TMI Pacific – a division of major Sydney-based dealer body Tynan Motor Group – which in November 2008 relinquished 80 per cent of the Mahindra distribution business that it established in Australia in 2007.

Last month TMI introduced a facelifted MY11 Pik-Up range powered by a new ‘mHawk’ 2.2-litre turbocharged 16-valve common-rail turbo-diesel engine for all models, producing 89kW at 4000rpm and 270Nm of torque between 1600 and 2800rpm while returning combined fuel consumption of 9.1L/100km.

Pricing opens $1000 lower than before at $20,999 drive-away for the entry-level Pik-Up Single Cab Chassis 2WD (4x4: $26,499 drive-away), with style-side ute version adding a further $1000, the Dual Cab Chassis 2WD variant costing $26,499 (4x4: $29,999 drive-away) and the Dual Cab Ute 2WD priced at $26,999 - or $30,490 drive-away for the flagship 4x4 twin-cab.

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