Mahindra plans smaller petrol engines for future compact models

Roudra Bhattacharya Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

MahindraAssembly unit   -  Business Line

bl30_puasr_mahindra.ART_G2S3GAAOD.1+BL30_P2_XUV.jpg   -  Business Line

Who says petrol engines are going out of fashion because of higher prices of the fuel? In a departure from the focus on diesel-powered vehicles, domestic utility vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra has started work on smaller petrol engines for future compact models.

This development is in tandem with a number of platforms it is jointly developing with Ssangyong. As part of a strategy to de-risk itself from a high concentration on diesel-powered products, the company is also considering the use of petrol engines with higher capacities from Ssangyong – the Korean carmaker it formally acquired earlier this year.

“We can use petrol engines from Ssangyong (larger capacities). We're developing smaller petrol engines as well – of around 1- and 1.2-litre capacities. But this development is a three-year cycle, so it will take some time,” a company official close to the development told Business Line.

Ssangyong platforms

The automaker is also developing around three new platforms with Ssangyong, of which the first – for a compact vehicle, is in more advanced stages.

This is part of a strategy to cut costs by harnessing the benefits of joint platform development and integrate purchasing. The new platforms will lead to new models for both brands.

“Work on a new platform should be concluded very soon ... this will be on the compact side. Right now it's in the styling and customer research stage and still has to clear the business case – to see if it's techno-commercially viable. This will spawn products for both Mahindra and Ssangyong,” the official said.

He added, “In all, we're jointly working on 2-3 platforms, but this one is in advanced stages.”

The company official, however, did not elaborate if the new platform would be for small cars/sedans – an entirely new segment for Mahindra (since Verito is essentially a Renault platform), or if this would be aimed at compact utility vehicles.

Compact models

Even as the company places strong bets on its most premium product ever – the recently launched SUV ‘XUV 500', a slew of new models on the compact side are expected over the next year.

This includes a compact Xylo of below 4 metres length, which will need to have at least a 1.2-litre petrol or a 1.5-litre diesel to attract the lower excise duty benefits. Other new compact models include the new redesigned Verito, with a sub-4 metre variant and the Mahindra Reva NXR electric car.

Though the company has an around 60 per cent share of the larger utility vehicles space, these new models will help it gain a foothold in the compact vehicle segment – which represents above 70 per cent of the passenger vehicle market.

With this it can take the competition right into the bastions of domestic car majors such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and Tata Motors.

“I will not be surprised if they enter the small car space. It's a logical extension of what they already do … a natural progression. Product strategy is important and market leaders will not remain so, so they need to be thinking ahead,” Mr Abdul Majeed, Auto Practice Leader at PwC India said.


Published on October 02, 2011

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