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Mahindra five-door Thar a ‘maybe’ for Oz

Indian head of product development says export markets are on company’s radar

26 May 2023

MAHINDRA’S president of automotive technology and product development, Ramasamy Velusamy, has told Australian journalists gathered for a preview drive of the XUV700 last week that the forthcoming five-door version of the Thar off-roader is under consideration for the Australian market – assuming it can sort its legal battle with Jeep…


The news follows a report published this February suggestion the three- and five-door Jeep Wrangler lookalike could be headed Down Under, with Mr Velusamy saying export markets were on Mahindra’s radar, but only after the model is launched domestically.


“We announced it (the five-door Thar) in our last board meeting … and in the first quarter of next year we should see it in the Indian market,” he said.


“I’m not sure at this stage what the plans are for Australia, but I can say we are closely evaluating that space, and we will disclose more when we finish our planning. But as of now, India is a priority market.”


GoAuto and other outlets spotted the heavily camouflaged five-door Thar undergoing testing at Mahindra’s proving ground outside Chennai, India last week.


The larger model is expected to give another strong boost to Mahindra’s growing off-road capable line-up, joining the recently released Scorpio as a body-on-frame offering with dual-range four-wheel drive.


If offered Down Under, the five-door Mahindra Thar would give the Indian manufacturer a genuine competitor to the likes of the GWM Tank 300 and Jeep Wrangler, albeit it at a price point that places the model within striking distance of Suzuki’s Jimny.


In its home market, the model will rival the Force Gurkha and Suzuki Maruti Jimny five-door.

In India, the current Thar range is offered with petrol and diesel powerplants ranging from 1.5- to 2.2 litres in displacement, and with the availability of manual and automatic transmissions, and the choice of rear- and four-wheel drive.


Indian sources report that the five-door variant will feature only larger displacement four-cylinder turbocharged mStallion (2.0-litre petrol) and mHawk (2.2-litre diesel) units, and that six-speed manual and automatic transmissions will be available from launch.


GoAuto understands the five-door Mahindra Thar will arrive in Indian showrooms with features including 18-inch alloy wheels, squared-off tail-lights familiar to the three-door model, bold wheel arch cladding, cruise control, remote keyless entry and ignition, and a larger infotainment system featuring the brand’s AdrenoX operating system.


The model is expected to arrive with a price tag starting at R15 lakh ($A27,850) plus on-road costs and topping out at R16 lakh ($A29,700).


By court ruling, Mahindra will be allowed to sell its Thar in Australia provided the model’s appearance is significantly altered to make it appear less like the Jeep Wrangler. If Jeep is satisfied that the remodel of the Thar is adequate, it’s likely it could appear in local showrooms by as early as the end of next year.


Visit GoAuto again soon for our launch drive of the Mahindra XUV700.


*Three-door model shown for illustrative purposes.

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