Could be a benchmarking vehicle of a rival carmaker.
Team-Bhp forum member Mr. Arjun Reddy spotted a Renault Grand Scenic sans any camouflage, testing on the Chennai - Bangalore highway. The people carrier belongs to the hotly contested compact MPV segment which is currently populated in India by the Maruti Ertiga and the Honda Mobilio.
It is to be noted that Renault's candidate for the Indian MPV market is the Renault Lodgy which has already started testing in the country. The Lodgy which is a close relative of the Duster, originated as a Dacia. Earlier reports suggest that the 7-seat MPV would enter production towards the end of this year or early next year with sales commencing in 2015.
Coming back to the Grand Scenic, the lack of camouflage suggests that the mule could be a benchmarking product of a rival carmaker. Mahindra, which has a history of testing its rival's products in Chennai, emerges as the top suspect. Hyundai too are working on an MPV for a 2016 launch, and the Grand Scenic could very well be a possible benchmarking exercise.
Previously, a Citroen C4 Picasso, also a compact MPV like the Grand Scenic, was spotted without any camouflage and according to our sources, the vehicle was used for benchmarking purposes by Mahindra.
Apart from new products like the Mahindra S101 (Ford EcoSport rival), U301 (next gen Bolero), P601 (Tata Ace Zip rival) which have already reached the prototype testing phase, the company is believed to be working on several new projects and a compact MPV could be one of them.
In a related news, Mahindra's recently established North American Technical Centre is reportedly working on a global MPV.
[Spy images from Team Bhp]