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Mahindra on countdown to new Pik-Up

Incoming: Mahindra’s next Pik-Up ute will be based on the latest Scorpio SUV, meaning a new look and greater safety, including ESC.

SUV-based Mahindra Pik-Up to land in Australia in 2016, along with auto XUV500


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29 Jan 2015

THE utilitarian workhorse ute that carried India’s Mahindra back into the Australian new-vehicle market in 2007, the Pik-Up, is on target for replacement in 2016.

The new-generation Pik-Up – to be based on the revised Scorpio SUV now on sale in India – is said to represent a major makeover, but will retain a rugged ladder chassis and diesel engine as favoured by farmers, mining companies and others working in tough conditions.

Mahindra Automotive Australia public relations and marketing manager James Halliwell told GoAuto that the Pik-Up replacement was one of several changes to the current three-model Mahindra range due in Australia over the next year or so.

These will include upgrades to the Genio “tradie-focussed ute” in mid-2015 and XUV500 SUV in the second half of the year.

As well, the company reconfirmed that it is also looking at a new compact SUV to sit below the monocoque-based XUV500 within two years.

Mr Halliwell said the arrival of the Pik-Up replacement and addition of an optional automatic transmission in Mahindra’s XUV500 SUV in Australia would help inject new vigour into the brand.

“We are pushing on with a major change to Pik-Up – a brand new ladder frame chassis, changes to crash mitigation, entirely new exterior and interior,” he said.

“Unfortunately, at this stage it is not arriving until 2016. We would love have it as soon as possible, but we have to wait for the factory.”

Mr Halliwell said the latest Pik-Up – which is not yet in production in India – would have new safety electronics to comply with compulsory ESC rules for light commercial vehicles in Australia.

The current Pik-Up scored just three stars under the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) crash test ratings when it was tested in 4x4 dual-cab form last year.

In its 4x2 single cab-chassis form, the Pik-Up is Australia’s cheapest diesel ute at $18,990 driveaway.

Mr Halliwell said that while the new Pik-Up would be based on the Indian Scorpio SUV, he hinted that the ute version would get a more sophisticated powertrain than the “fairly basic format” of the Scorpio.

According to Mahindra’s Indian website, the Scorpio is offered with a choice of two four-cylinder diesel engines – a 55kW 2.5-litre base unit and more upmarket 88kW 2.2-litre mHawk, both hooked up to a five-speed manual gearbox.

The current Pik-Up is powered by the same 2.2-litre mHawk diesel with the five-speeder.

Mr Halliwell said the belated arrival of an automatic transmission in the XUV500 SUV as an alternative to the six-speed manual gearbox would be a major step forward for the vehicle in Australia where Mahindra is looking to expand its dealership base from the current 38 outlets.

He said Mahindra had been well along the development path with Australian-based Drivetrain on an automatic transmission for XUV500 until 2009 when Chinese car-maker Geely bought the operation.

This precluded Mahindra from using the Albury-built transmissions. But then Mahindra bought South Korea’s SsangYong, opening up another avenue for transmissions.

“So we had to re-start that testing program,” he said. “They do millions of kilometres on these things to make sure they are suitable for production.”

Mr Halliwell said he still did not have a definite arrival date for the auto-equipped XUV500.

“It could be anywhere between the second half of this year and the first half of next year,” he said.

So far, Mahindra has dealerships in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, and is in talks with prospective retailers in South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

The company most recently signed a new metropolitan dealership at Pennant Hills, in Sydney’s north.

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