The COVID-19 pandemic has had a swift and severe impact on many industries including the globally integrated automotive industry. The automotive sector had already undergone considerable slowdown over the last 3 years due to structural changes beginning with the goods & services tax (GST), shift to shared mobility, axle-load reforms, the switch from BS4 to BS6 transition and the liquidity crunch. The COVID-19 lockdown has had a multiplier effect – the industry has almost been at a complete standstill since March 2020. A prolonged truncation of consumer demand due to the lockdown has significantly affected auto manufacturers’ revenues and cash flows.
Post lockdown many companies launched new cars, especially during the festive season. Many cars tried to impress customers but when it comes to final decision making, Mahindra’s second-generation attracted many and racked up impressive sales for the Indian SUV maker. In fact, the waiting period has risen to one year. This success has clearly helped the company decide where it has to head in the next 5-6 years.
SUVs are the bread and butter for Mahindra and the industry trend is also going towards SUV. Therefore the company has revealed that it will focus on developing its core portfolio of sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) and their electric version under its new Managing Director and CEO Anish Shah. M&M is looking at leveraging the true DNA of the brand and have the brand tell its own stories about where it comes from and who they are.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd intends to invest a total of Rs 17,000 crores over the next three years; out of this, Rs 12,000 crores is meant for new models in both the passenger vehicles and farm sectors. The proposed investments, Rs 9,000 crore is for the automotive sector, Rs 6,000 crore for conventional vehicles and Rs 3,000 crore for electric vehicles (EVs). For the farm equipment sector the company will spend Rs 3,000 crore and the remaining Rs 5,000 crore will be invested in the group companies.
The company plans to launch a total of 23 models in the passenger vehicles segment and light commercial vehicles (LCV) category by 2026 and 37 models in the farm equipment vertical under its Project K2 by 2024-25. Now, out of the total 23 new products Mahindra intends to launch in the PV and CV sectors, nine will be SUVs. This includes six hybrid/ electric SUV’s.
The company is also working on two new products based on the Born EV platform which is Mahindra’s dedicated architecture for e-SUVs. These fully electric vehicles are codenamed Born EV1 and Born EV2 and are scheduled for launch in 2025-26. It is expected that Mahindra will use the Mahindra Electric Scalable Modular Architecture (MESMA), showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo, which has a wide range of battery packs.
Before going into an all-electric mode, Mahindra & Mahindra will also come up with four hybrid SUVs namely - XUV300, XUV700, W620 and the V201. These vehicles will pave the way for all-electric vehicles and will compete with the current generation cars like Tata Nexon Electric, MG ZS EV and Hyundai Kona.
The launch phase kick starts with the new Scorpio, which is expected in 2021-22. Followed by the company’s brand new XUV700, which will be launched in this calendar year. While a five-door Thar and all-new Bolero are set to hit the market between 2023-26. Between 2024-27, the company has planned three new products, including SUVs code-named W620 and V201 along with an all-new version of its compact SUV XUV300, all of which will have electric powertrain options.
The company also have a very strong strategy in the LCV segment, especially in less than three and a half tonne segments. In this space, Mahindra will be launching 14 new products to strengthen its position as the number one player. In the farm equipment sector, the products will be rolled out from M&M’s lightweight tractor programme, the K2 series, which is developed through close collaboration between the engineering teams from Mitsubishi Mahindra Agricultural Machinery of Japan and Mahindra Research Valley in India.
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The launch phase kick starts with the new Scorpio, which is expected in 2021-22. Followed by the company’s brand new XUV700, which will be launched in this calendar year.
The investment made to develop mStallion range of petrol and mHawk range of diesel engines, the new electronic architecture and few important areas will help Mahindra for the next few years. Currently, Mahindra employs engines from 1.2 litres to 2.2 litres to power the upcoming models. Similarly, for the infotainment systems, Mahindra doesn’t need to invest now, it has already made necessary arrangements with Visteon and developed solutions that will cater to future requirements. With these kind of arrangements, Mahindra & Mahindra is ready to shake the market and are eyeing a bigger market share in the passenger car and LCV segment.
Mahindra is all set to launch its new flagship SUV - the XUV700 in India this year. Based on the company’s new W601 SUV platform, it was earlier believed to be the new-gen XUV500, however, now we have been told that the XUV700 will be the official replacement for Mahindra’s popular 7-seater SUV. When launched, the XUV500 came with lots of segment-first features. This helped in attracting a lot of people. Mahindra would be replicating the same formula and would be offering a lot of segment-first features with the new XUV700.
Mahindra is expected to offer Advanced Drive Aids System (ADAS) with the XUV700. This would make it the first SUV to offer ADAS features in the segment. So, it can come with adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, lane departure warning and forward collision warning. Currently, the most affordable vehicle with ADAS features is the MG Gloster.
As seen in Mercedes Benz, the new XUV700 would come with a digital driver’s display and a large touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The infotainment system would also be able to play videos. There would be soft-touch materials on the touchpoints, leather upholstery and a large panoramic sunroof. The XUV 700 will come with a 2.0-litre petrol engine and a 2.2-litre diesel engine. Both the engines would be offered with a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 6-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. This new car is expected to be launched during the upcoming festive season.
New Scorpio (Z101)
Recent spy shots of the next Gen Scorpio (Codename Z101) tells us that the car will carry the high stance of an SUV and other premium features have been retained. The bonnet has also been redesigned with an added hood scoop. The new SUV has been made on the same ladder frame design and helps it stand out on the road from the competition. The tail-end of the vehicle will be short and stubby, with a near-vertical tailgate. We expect the taillights to be LED units, and there will probably be ‘Scorpio’ lettering on the tailgate, which is quite a popular design detail among modern SUVs.
Moreover, the new Scorpio is expected to have a longer wheelbase for better high-speed stability and increased comfort. The next generation Mahindra Scorpio’s interiors has been conceptualised and shaped at Mahindra’s North American Technical Centre in Detroit, United States, and engineered and developed at the Mahindra Research Valley in Chennai. Like the Mahindra Thar, the new Mahindra Scorpio will be available with both BS6 compliant Petrol and Diesel engine. The 2.2L ‘mHAWK’ diesel engine in the Thar produces 130bhp of maximum power and a peak torque output of 300Nm. The 2.0L ‘mStallion’ petrol engine on the Thar produces a maximum power output of 150bhp and 300Nm of torque. Both the engines will be tuned differently and will produce a slightly enhanced performance in the new Scorpio.
Bolero has been one of the highest-selling utility vehicles in the country. As a next step, Mahindra is going to take the Bolero legacy forward with the upcoming Bolero Neo, which is essentially the facelifted version of the TUV300, which is discontinued from the Indian market due to poor response. Compared to TUV300, Bolero Neo will feature updated headlamps, a new grille and bumpers. Even in the interiors, we can expect a new dashboard layout but the powertrain is to be as same as TUV300 with a 1.5-litre three-cylinder diesel engine.
Mahindra is also working on an all-new Bolero. While the manufacturer is yet to start testing the car on public roads, Mahindra has the car in its upcoming line-up in the next 5 years. The all-new Bolero will get a new platform and the design is likely to remain similar to the current model but with some modern highlights and additions. The Bolero is one of the oldest selling production cars in India.
The recently launched second-generation Mahindra Thar has become an instant success for the brand with the popularity rising so much that many customers have to wait for one year before getting their hands on the vehicle. After receiving an overwhelming response, Mahindra has confirmed that it will launch a five-door version of Thar in India. The five-door version will not be as capable as the three-door version because of the increased wheelbase but Mahindra is also planning to offer the 2WD option to the 5-door version of the Thar.
XUV 900 (W620)
As customers are expecting a new range of SUVs, Mahindra has decided to retrieve its XUV Aero concept that was showcased at the 2016 Auto Expo. The XUV Aero is a coupe based SUV, where it is expected to be slotted above the XUV 700 and rumours indicate that it could be called the XUV900 but the internal codename is W620. Mahindra may open up a new SUV coupe segment with the W620 and it tries to take advantage of the handling characteristics offered by a coupe alongside having the high practicality an SUV offers with ample ground clearance, off-roading nature and a spacious cabin.
Next- Gen XUV 500 (S301)
Mahindra had initially planned to launch XUV400, a midsize SUV codenamed S301 to compete with Hyundai Creta and it was expected to be built on Ford’s B772 platform. However, the joint venture has already been discontinued. Instead of the XUV400, Mahindra now plans to introduce the next-gen five-seater XUV500. The report claims that the new XUV500 will not be available by 2024. Mahindra is expected to develop new SUVs using an enhanced version of the XUV300 platform. The XUV300 is based on SsangYong’s X100 platform and also supports Tivoli SUVs. Mahindra engineers need to work on reducing the weight of the platform to reduce costs. The next-generation Mahindra XUV500 fills the gap between the XUV300 and the next XUV700.
The new XUV500 will be powered by a revised version of the XUV300’s 1.5-litre diesel engine. It complies with the stricter BS6 Phase II emission standards scheduled for 2023. The SUV will also be equipped with a 1.5-litre mStallion turbocharged petrol engine, which can generate up to 163bhp of power.
With this clear roadmap, Mahindra & Mahindra clearly hold the ambition to be a global brand and there again the electric journey will play an important one.