Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Thursday, 20th September 2012 introduced the Quanto, its smallest sport-utility vehicle model yet, in the latest addition to its stable of popular diesel-powered SUVs.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Thursday, 20th September 2012
introduced the Quanto
, its smallest sport-utility vehicle model yet, in the latest addition to its stable of popular diesel-powered SUVs.
Pawan Goenka, president for Mahindra's automotive business, with the Mahindra Quanto SUV
during its launch.
Mahindra, which began its automotive business 65 years ago by assembling the iconic Willys Jeep in India, is enjoying a surge in demand for its diesel-powered SUVs even as overall car sales in the country have been in a steady decline.
The Mahindra logo is displayed on a vehicle at a Mahindra dealership in New Delhi in this file photo.
The Mahindra Quanto
, based on Mahindra's Ingenio vehicle platform, measures less than four meters in length. It is powered by a 1.5-liter diesel engine and will cost 582,000 rupees ($10,778) to 736,000 rupees at dealerships in Mumbai for the four variants on offer.
Mahindra, the parent company of South Korea's SsangYong Motor Co., says that the Quanto compact SUV runs 17.2 kilometers on one liter of diesel in test-driving conditions.
Cars or SUVs that measure up to four meters in length qualify for a 12% excise tax--compared with 24% for larger vehicles--provided that their engine capacities don't exceed 1.2-liter in case of gasoline and up to 1.5-liter in case of diesel.
Mahindra currently manufactures the Xylo utility vehicle on the same Ingenio platform.
Diesel-powered cars and SUVs have become increasingly popular in India as they are generally more fuel-efficient and because the fuel is about a third cheaper than gasoline -- despite a recent price increase.
For instance, a liter of diesel is 31% cheaper than gasoline in New Delhi. The cost difference between the two fuels was 40% before a Sept. 14 increase of 5 rupees per liter of diesel.
The Mahindra Quanto
will likely allow Mahindra, the maker of SUV models such as the Scorpio and the XUV500, to reach out to new customers, especially sedan and hatchback buyers, and expand its leadership in the Indian market.
Local sales of Mahindra's utility vehicles in the April-August period climbed 34% from a year earlier to 99,095 vehicles. In comparison, overall car sales in India rose just 1% during the same period.
"This [Quanto's] compact SUV segment will shift demand from sedans and premium hatchbacks," said Pawan Goenka, president for Mahindra's automotive and farm equipment business.
"Unlike 10 years ago, people now get equal comfort levels in SUVs as segments such as hatches and sedans."
Mr. Goenka said he doesn't expect the recent increase in diesel rates to hit SUV sales in India, as demand for such vehicles are growing because of changing lifestyles and the introduction of new products.
He said the new SUV will be produced at Mahindra's plant at Nasik in western India. He added that a combined 7,000 units of the Quanto and the Xylo can be made there each month.
In addition to the Indian market, Mahindra plans to sell the Quanto in Europe, South Africa and Chile in three to four months' time, said Pravin Shah, chief executive of the company's automotive business.
Rajan Wadhera, chief executive in-charge of technology product development & sourcing for Mahindra's automotive & farm equipment sectors, said the company is exploring the possibility of introducing a four-wheeled drive version of the Mahindra Quanto