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Mahindra Executives Bullish At 12th Auto Expo In New Delhi

SsangYong XUV 500 Hybird

The automotive division of the Mumbai-based Mahindra Group had an impressive and comprehensive display at the recently concluded 12th Auto Expo near New Delhi in India. The company's senior executives were bullish about the prospects for the US$16.7-bilion multinational company's current and future model line-up.

Prior to the Auto Expo, executive director and president of Mahindra's automotive and farm equipment sectors, Dr. Pawan Goenka, had announced that engineers were working hard on developing a mass market Compact SUV that can seat 5 passengers and is the lowest priced model in the growing sub-four metre SUV segment.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Dr. Goenka said it was important now for the company to produce a downsized SUV, rather than making something above the popular Scorpio and XUV 500 models. He added that two to three different platforms were being evaluated for the new, smaller SUV which the company plans to launch early next year.

The bold approach continued at the media briefing at the modern Greater Noida exhibition centre on the outskirts of New Delhi. Group chairman, Anand Mahindra, announced that the company was investing more than R500-million in product development in light, intermediate and medium commercial vehicles. Two thirds of this amount is being spent in bringing an all-new range of trucks, with payload capacities between 7 and 14 tons, to market in the next two years.

Mahindra is the only company in India which produces an entire range of mobility solutions from boats and aircraft to motorcycles, three-wheelers, passenger vehicles and a wide range of commercial vehicles, including big trucks and buses.

Although there were no boats or light aircraft at the stand, the remainder of Mahindra's offerings took up a sizeable area in one of the hangars. This was the company's widest ever and most diverse showcasing of its vehicles and advanced technologies.

The theme of the Mahindra display was Advanced Mobility Solutions, with a lot of focus on Accessible Technology which ranged from SUVs and future ready electric mobility solutions - including a new Formula E electric sports car - and many examples of the commercial vehicle portfolio as well as exciting new two wheeler models in the motorcycle and scooter segments.
Mahindra Automotive, with the support of several associated business units in the Mahindra Group, has always been at the forefront of sustainability and green technology initiatives.

A good example of its latest development in this arena was the XUV 500 Hybrid which combines a conventional turbo diesel engine with an integrated electric motor and lithium ion battery system to achieve an 18% improvement in fuel efficiency. It is the first diesel hybrid in the world with a manual transmission.

Mahindra got massive attention when the Halo electric sports car was unveiled. This car, which can accelerate from 0-100 km/h in less than 8 sec., and go on to a top speed of 160km/h, has a range of 200kms from a single charge.

The Reva e-20, which was exhibited at the Johannesburg Motor Show last year, has now been improved with a quick recharge system, permitting a full charge in just 60 minutes.
A sensational looker at the Mahindra pavilion was the Formula-E racing car which will participate in the international Formula-E championship starting from September. This will highlight Mahindra's involvement in electric vehicles and also serve as an important, high visibility platform for research and development into future sustainable electric vehicles.

Also on show was the MGP30 racer, a 250cc single cylinder motorcycle which competes successfully in the Moto 3 category of the MotoGP World Motorcycle Racing Championship. The 2013 model was so successful that three other teams will race these machines in the 2014 season, alongside the Mahindra Racing team.

Mahindra certainly showed at this prestigious motor show, which is in the select group of shows on the 2014 OICA calendar that it is a company with a mission and bold ambition in many areas of its automotive portfolio.

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