Autocar Professional reports that Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) is working on a Thar-based off-roader exclusively for the U.S market. It is rumoured to be called the Mahindra Thor and will be the first product to roll out of their new production facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan.
Unlike the Thar in India, which is pitched as a UV for off-road enthusiasts, the Thor will fall in a category of UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) vehicles meant for recreational or commercial use but aren't exactly street legal; i.e cannot be registered as an on-highway vehicle. So it need not meet the stringent emission or safety norms for road-going products. However, it does mean that the Thor will target a niche segment that wouldn't set cash registers ringing.
The report states that the Thor will source the SsangYong's Tivoli's 1.6-litre engine which meets Euro VI emission norms. A 5-speed/6-speed manual gearbox is likely to serve as the transmission, shuffling power to all four wheels via a 4x4 drivetrain. The Thor is developed at Mahindra North America Technical Centre in Detroit.
In case you are unaware, this is not the first time that M&M tried to set foot on the U.S passenger vehicle market. Five years ago, the LHD Scorpio-based Pik-Up was planned for launch, but legal disputes with assigned dealerships did not help bring that to fruition. Now with a new product strategy coupled with production and R&D facilities, the Indian utility manufacturer will finally realise its ambition of selling its cars in the U.S and other developed countries.
[Source: Autocar Professional]