Mahindra & Mahindra will increase its range of petrol engine-powered vehicles, starting with a compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) to be launched next year.
“We are developing a 1.2-litre petrol engine, which will power the compact SUV that we will launch next year. Also, we have a 1.6-litre petrol engine available from our Korean arm Ssangyong,” Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) Executive Director Pawan Goenka told PTI.He further said, “We can also develop a 1-litre petrol engine in quick time based on the existing platform.”
The plan to have more petrol vehicles is to offset any possible decline in demand for diesel vehicles due to the reducing price difference between petrol and diesel fuels.Mr. Goenka said the company will manufacture two out of the three new platforms, which it has announced, at the Chakan plant.
Last month M&M had announced plans to invest Rs. 4,000 crore at the Chakan plant to take the overall capacity to 7.5 lakh units annually when fully operational. The fresh infusion would take its total investment in Chakan to Rs. 8,000 crore.In 2013, the company had announced plans to invest Rs. 10,000 crore in three years.
When asked if the Chakan plant could be used to assemble models of the company’s South Korean arm Ssangyong, he said at the moment there were no such plans. “We don’t have immediate plans to assemble any Ssangyong models in India. However, considering the capacity that the Chakan plant would have when fully operational, we can produce a wide array of vehicles there.”
On whether the company would bring the X100 compact SUV that Ssangyong planned to lunch next year, Mr. Goenka said, “We don’t have any such plans now. Unless we assemble that in India it will not be cost competitive.”
Mr. Goenka said the company has initiated a feasibility study for a possible entry of Ssangyong in the US but it would take years before being finalised. “We don’t have any timeline for that study. Even after that, it would take 2-3 years after the Board approves any plan, if at all, for such a move. So, it is just far away,” he added.
M&M’s earlier plan to launch Scorpio pick-up truck in the US hasn’t fructified due to legal issues with its distributor and dealers following delays in launch.Commenting on the market conditions, Mr. Goenka said the industry has seen a turnaround with sales picking up in the last four months.