Tell Us – Can a cheaper Mahindra XUV500 tackle the Duster and EcoSport?

Posted on: Jun 11, 2013 - 11:30am IST

Mahindra & Mahindra, the utility vehicle leader of India, has come under immense pressure from Renault India thanks to the successful Duster. Recently, the Duster overtook the Scorpio in monthly sales figures signalling a major long term threat. Adding to that, Ford India is all set to launch another strong contender the EcoSport in the Indian market.

In the future, Nissan will launch the Terrano (a rebadged Duster). Volkswagen is developing the Taigun for emerging markets. Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai and even Toyota are very keen on exploiting the ‘affordable SUV’ market in India.

Mahindra XUV500
A pre-launch teaser of the Mahindra XUV500 from 2011

With so many competitors ready to challenge Mahindra, it is not hard to understand why the company is beefing up its product portfolio. But can the cheaper XUV500, the first in the model onslaught, compete with the lower segment Duster and EcoSport that are compact, easier to drive, more fuel efficient and thereby more suitable for the urban grind?

In the long run, Mahindra is developing a feature rich compact SUV (Codenamed S101) and a replacement to the aging Scorpio. A few SUVs from the partner company Ssangyong (namely Korando C and Rodius) and also being considered for India. Yet another compact SUV (Codenamed X100) is being developed on a new platform in collaboration with Ssangyong. Most of these products will hit the market in a timeframe of 3-4 years.

So that begs another question – Is Mahindra’s strategy to fend off the competition by offering an SUV for every need, rather than concentrating on just the affordable segments, the most intelligent way of securing its future?

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11 thoughts on “Tell Us – Can a cheaper Mahindra XUV500 tackle the Duster and EcoSport?

  1. AC says:

    I agree that a cheaper version of XUV 500 should do wonder for Mahindra especially if they price is right (around 9.0 L).

    I would personally like a SUV with
    1. looks of XUV 500.
    2. Length of Scorpio
    3. 7 seater

    All the frills e.g. tyre monitor, voice command etc etc. provided by manufacturers are not of much use and be easily be done away with. Only necessary safety features like ABS must be provided in all makes / models.

    Reply
  2. Ayyappan says:

    a) First and foremost, the Scorpio and the Balero, which are the bread and butter models for Mahindra primarily depends on the villages/ Tier III cities for its sales numbers.

    b) Nissan Terrano looks stunning and will attract quite a massive fan base. Ford Ecosport, though priced aggressively, might be another XUV500 story considering the fact it is a 4 seater car and may not attract family buyers in the long run. Maruti Suzuki with its XA Alpha, with its killer brand image, would hit the bulls eye in all probability. The others are sometime away for release…

    b)The biggest worry factor- After the initial euphoria the good looking XUV 500 sales have come down drastically and that’s primarily due to the poor customer feedback due to constant issues. M&&M did a recall activity sometime back, but QUALITY & RELIABILITY has been the biggest challenge for Mahindra for a long time now.

    During a conversation with a Suzuki official about 9 months back, he had made a startling prediction that XUV500 wouldn’t be able to sustain its sales numbers, not because of competition, but due to the poor quality of the car itself. He was happy (sarcastic) that M&M was not with Renault anymore and felt that Ssanyong is equally poor with regards to engineering skills ! His suggestion was to put your money on Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen & Nissan (in that order of priority), if your investment on a car is in the tune of 10 lacs INR. And M&M came last in his rating !

    We’ve some of the automobile giants with centuries of automobile experience like Toyota, Honda, Volkswagen & Nissan operating in India and their world class offerings have provided a different experience to the customers. So, I feel its not just about a smaller XUV or a bigger SsangYong, its about the quality of the vehicles they offer.

    Reply
    1. Deepak Chablani says:

      I agree the Quality of Mahindra cars may not be that good compared to Toyota, Volkswagen and all that. But they’re coming up. Once they solve all the issues with XUV and then relaunch it, it will start selling again.

      Why did they call off the relationship with Renault? They’re a super power in Europe. Nobody knows about this Ssanyong.

      Reply
  3. Anand says:

    Instead, M&M should look into the Scorpio, how to improve the quality and reduce number of components. Like 10 piece Dash board, can be reduced to 4-5 pieces one, that would reduce the cost of production as well Weight.

    Reply
  4. Abhishek says:

    May work as people will get big vehicle at same price.
    Also they are lunching XUV based mini suv that may solve problem completely. Points to be consider while design are good looks most imp, followed by millage. also try to provide improvement in area where duster is lagging like interior design .

    Reply
  5. sandy says:

    Well I don’t think M&M need to make XUV cheaper to tackle Duster and ES. Recently, I think I came across the news of Scorpio regaining its position. If that would be the case then M&M is safe. Else, it does have other options other then cheaper XUV.
    Yes, the humble Bolero which they can resize n reshape a bit, new 1.5 mHawk and some ABS cladding for new exterior design. ABS cladding, as M&M is used to it for making the front fender of XUV and E2O body, which is easy to make.

    Reply
  6. Ameya says:

    If they deploy a cheaper variant, then they may threaten the Scorpio which is more profitable as most costs have been recovered. But definitely, a 7 seater vehicle at a cheaper price will be welcomed by the crowds buying Duster/Ecosport

    Reply
  7. sagar says:

    That would be a big mistake as it would spoil the XUV image …

    Mahindra just has to drop the prices of the XUV by 1,25,000/- at least … no entry level variant must be launched …

    To take on the Duster they could have a sub 4 metre premium SUV based on the XUV or the under development 201/202 could be made a bit premium …

    Improving the Xylo ride quality as well as the Quanto ride quality could give the Duster a run for its money …

    Refreshed and new look Scorpio could also add to the Duster competition …

    So its clear that Mahindra already has enough ammunation for the Duster … only some changes, upgrades, facelifts and proper positioning price wise could help …

    Reply
  8. Winfred says:

    The biggest direct threat to XUV is the Terrano; its going to come in a 7 seater version (hence the higher price). All the others are not competing directly.

    XUV is a full SUV (not compact) and also has 4×4 option. Hence it surely has its space in the market. Its a wonderful product.

    The reliability issues and the niggles have let them down. They need a strong repositioning….may be a minor facelift or a limited edition signaling the end of trouble some period may help. Surely it will pickup volumes once they address this.

    The XUV prices went north with the huge initial demand for such a vehicle. The euphoria is now over and now they need to position it back at where it started 10.8L if I’m right. They cannot ask for novelty price any more.

    But they can wait till EcoSport arrives. If EcoSport is priced aggressively, then Duster/ Terrano needs to respond and it will have a significant effect on XUV too.

    The competition and slower growth is surely helping the customers like me picking up the product with limited premium.

    Reply

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Kaustubh
Kaustubh Shinde

They say sooner or later your passion finds you. Sometime in late 2009, I started writing for IAB and ever since then it has been a roller coaster ride for me. An amazing experience that has taught me a lot, taken me to new places, driven some great cars and met some amazing people. When you don't find me on IAB (very rarely), you will find me either at a coffee shop or an eatery or at the nearest gadget store.Hope you enjoy IAB as much as we do!