M ahindra & Mahindra
will launch two new utility vehicles next financial year in addition to upgrades to the existing range, as it looks to protect market share in its core utility vehicle segment.
The Mumbai-based company will launch a multi-utility vehicle codenamed U321 before the end of next financial year preceded by a sports utility vehicle codenamed S201 in the second half of the year.
M&M's market share in the UV space has nearly halved to 29 percent from 56 per cent in 2012. Maruti Suzuki became the biggest disruptor snatching away a share of 26 percent followed by Hyundai with a share of nearly 13 per cent and Toyota at 12 percent, as per SIAM data.
The U321 will be M&M’s answer to Toyota’s runaway success Innova Crysta as well as Maruti Suzuki’s Ertiga. M&M has committed Rs 1,500 crore investment for manufacturing the U321 at its Nashik plant and its engines at the Igatpuri plant.
“The U321 is being developed by Mahindra North American Technical Center in Detroit by American engineers," said Pawan Goenka, managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra.
"It will be produced at the Nashik plant. As a result, the capacity in Nashik will go up from 160,000 to 210,000 vehicles per annum,” he said.
“The investment is for product development, tooling, dies and fixtures and will be done over the next three years. It is designed like a multi-purpose vehicle not an SUV which means it is focused on movement of people. The U321 will be marketed outside India too”, he said.
The Rs 1,500 crore investment is part of the Rs 10,000 crore investment announced by the company earlier which is to be spent by the end of the upcoming financial year.
In the second half of the financial year M&M will introduce a stylish new SUV codenamed S201. This new SUV will be based on the X100 platform which presently houses the SsangYong Tivoli. The S201 will be positioned between the KUV100 and TUV300 and will take on the likes of Ford Ecosport, Maruti
Brezza and the yet-to-be-launched Tata
Nexon. Interestingly there wont be a huge gap between the S201 and the Nexon launch dates as both would debut in the second half of next year.
Further gasoline version of XUV500 is likely to be launched in first quarter of next year and depending on the response, the company would launch gasoline version of Scorpio too. Apart from these, there would be periodic refreshes to the existing vehicle range.
“The passenger vehicle (PV) industry remained subdued during the recently concluded quarter but the UV segment continued to report a healthy growth in volumes. As of today UVs account for 25 percent of the total PV volumes which means one in every four vehicles sold is a UV”, added Goenka.
As per data shared by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) UVs recorded sales rise of 32 per cent to 618,427 units during the period of April-January this year as against the same period last year.
In comparison passenger cars reported a growth of just 3 per cent to 1,740,308 units compared to the same period last year. The entire PV segment, which includes vans, reported a growth of 9 per cent during the same period.