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Mahindra Thar to take on Wrangler Down Under?

Aussie report says Indian-made Jeep clone a likely starter for local market in 2023

27 Feb 2023

AUSTRALIAN publication Drive says Mahindra is looking to bring its Thar four-wheel drive to the local market, assuming a redesign of the model can satisfy the requirements of Jeep’s lawyers, who successfully challenged that the model is a copy of its popular Wrangler.


Mahindra is reported to have said the business case for the Thar is “well progressed” for Australia and that the model will be sold locally provided Mahindra can provide Jeep with sufficient evidence that “details of the appearance of the vehicle” have satisfied the obligations of the high-profile legal case.


However, with styling of the MY23 Thar recently introduced to the Indian market wearing the same Wrangler-esque styling as before, it remains unclear as to whether any changes to the model are in the pipeline, says Drive.


Speaking to GoAuto about the possibility of the Thar’s entry to the local market this week, a Mahindra Australia spokesperson said there was “no information that can be added to the story at this time”.


Jeep and Mahindra have been to court over design similarities previously. In 2018, Jeep successfully blocked sales of the Mahindra Roxor in the United State saying the model too closely resembled the styling of its CJ-series four-wheel drive.


Fiat Chrysler successfully sued Mahindra in a Michigan court and at the US International Trade Commission over the Roxor’s design, arguing it copied “trademark-protected elements” of its iconic models.


Were the Mahindra Thar to arrive in local showrooms it would likely offer the same engine options found in the Indian market, which include a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol unit dubbed mStallion developing 112kW/320Nm and a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel mill known as the mHawk making 97kW/320Nm.


Less likely is the rear-wheel drive variant featuring (112kW/320Nm) 2.0-litre petrol or (87kW/300Nm) 1.5-litre diesel options.


All Indian-spec Thar variants are all available with six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.


Three-door body styles of the Thar are currently available with hard- and soft-top roof options, though the manufacturer is rumoured to be working on a five-door version that will be available before the end of the year.


In terms of equipment, the rough-and-ready Thar is fitted as standard with driver and passenger airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability control, hill-hold and hill-descent control, a 7.0-inch infotainment array with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, tyre pressure monitoring, and specific off-roading displays.


The model retails from between ₹999,000 ($A17,700) to ₹1,649,000 ($A29,200) on the Indian market.


Speaking at the release of the updated Thar in India recently, Mahindra & Mahindra automotive division president Veejay Nakra said the new model has received numerous important enhancements.


“The Mahindra Thar is not just a capable SUV; it is an emotion. Since 2020, the all-new Thar has captured the imagination of SUV lovers with over 80,000 fans exploring the impossible every day,” he said.


“To make our offering even better, we listened to our customers and engineered the new range of Thar with important enhancements.


“By offering the new rear-wheel drive variants, we made it much more accessible to those who wanted to live the ‘Thar life’, while our additions on the four-wheel drive variant have been designed to please true off-roaders.


“We are confident the new range of Thar will further spark the thrill to explore the impossible and add new enthusiasts to the Thar lifestyle.”

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