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Indian summer for Mahindra

Second model: Mahindra's Scorpio SUV could arrive here in January.

New Scorpio SUV wagon set to expand Mahindra range by early 2010

27 Jul 2009

MAHINDRA hopes to add a second tier to its product line-up in Australia by early next year when its existing Pik-Up ute range is expected to be joined by the closely related Scorpio SUV wagon which features state-of-the-art technology such as idle-stop in the Indian market.

Mahindra Automotive Australia CEO Claire Tynan said a firm arrival date for Scorpio was too far off to confirm, but January 2010 was the target.

“We’re hoping to bring the Scorpio in at the very beginning of next year,” she said.

“That can go up and down. This particular product [the Pik-Up] was four months late due to Xylo demand in India, [but Scorpio will arrive in] the first half.”

The Scorpio shares much of its hardware with the Pik-Up ute, except for engines.

The Scorpio’s 2.2-litre common rail turbo-diesel mHawk engine develops 87kW at 4000rpm and 290Nm of torque at 1800-2800rpm.

Mahindra claims that it furnishes Scorpio with a 0-60km/h figure of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 150km/h.

46 center image Left: Mahindra Xylo Car. Below Mahindra Thar concept.

The engine idle-stop feature saves up to 10 per cent in fuel consumption, says Mahindra.

A five-speed manual is standard with a six-speed auto option, and either 2WD or 4WD is available in India. The suspension is independent all around, with coil springs (2WD) and torsion bar springs (4WD) at the front and coil springs at the rear.

Brakes are discs at the front and drums at the rear.

Four domestic market models are offered, but Ms Tynan says local specification is undecided.

“Realistically, we can bring it in several different configurations,” she said. “That’s what we’re going through at the moment – six-seater, seven-seater, eight seater.

“We’ve got to decide what’s best for our market. It’s really the family troop carrier per se, because that’s what it’s built for.”

Local testing for the new model will start soon. “We’ve got an evaluation vehicle we’re bringing in, in the next couple of months.”

Unlike the Pik-Up, which has been focussed primarily on rural buyers, the Scorpio will be aimed at urban buyers, Ms Tynan says.

As for Xylo, a Toyota-based people-mover that went on sale in India four months ago, Ms Tynan said: “We’re waiting on Euro V, and if Australia (government) makes up their mind on that, we can give you something more concrete on that.”

Another Mahindra that will soon be considered for Australia is the Thar – a military-style, two-door 4WD.

According to Mahindra & Mahindra’s executive vice president international operations automotive sector, Pravin Shah, this military-style small 4WD is due for imminent launch in Europe and South Africa.

Previewed at the Bologna motor show in 2008 as the off-road Thar Concept, the production Thar looks suspiciously like a re-hash of Mahindra’s military 4WD vehicle that has been part of Mahindra’s model line since 1945, and that we last saw as the Bushman, powered by a Peugeot diesel, in the late 1980s.

While the Thar is not as ‘new’ as one might hope, the four-seat 4WD does have a common-rail turbo-diesel engine.

Mr Shah said Thar was being considered for Australia, but Mahindra needed to spend some more time engineering it for Australia’s Australian Design Rules (ADRs).

“We didn’t know this product would have some niche requirements for Australia and some other places – this wasn’t in the plan,” he said. “We didn’t want to delay our product launch plans for the markets for which we have developed it.

“In three to six months, we should be looking at how quickly we gain ground and understand the gaps with reference to ADRs to make that vehicle available for this market.”

Mr Shah said this entry-level model would be aimed at young buyers on a budget.

“We are looking for young yuppies on a budget, but who want recreation, who want have need of a product with an open top,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Indian company is researching alternative fuels, and has previewed biofuel and mild hybrid versions of the Scorpio.

Mr Shah cautioned that these technologies would not necessarily be released to the public.

“Those are products that we have developed but not ones we have commercially announced. Our position is changing by the day hybrid, biodiesel, electric cars,” he said.

“So we are taking a concrete decision what is going to be our alternative fuel strategy. We are in the process of putting that together, I think towards the end of this year.

“Before we go to the US, we’ll have those strategies revealed.”

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