Mahindra South Africa used the Johannesburg International Motor Show to preview its imposing new XUV500 sports utility vehicle (SUV) to the local public. Importantly it was the first viewing outside India of this important addition to the company’s growing product range. The international unveiling took place in Pune, India, on September 29, only one day before the media launch in South Africa.

Mahindra & Mahindra sees South Africa and the African continent as very important potential growth region as it starts moving more and more into becoming a significant global exporter.

Not only was Johannesburg the launch pad for the XUV500, but Mahindra also used this major event as the public launch for the new Genio one-ton pick-up, which is aimed at worldwide markets too. The international launch of the Genio took place in India in early September.

The importance of South Africa was underlined by the fact that three of the company’s senior executives, president of the automotive and farm equipment sectors, Dr Pawan Goenka, the chief executive of international operations in the automotive and farm equipment sectors, Pravin Shah, and the, chief executive of technology, product development and sourcing, Rajan Wadhera, flew directly from the international launch of the XUV 500 in Pune to the local media launch on September 30.

Mahindra’s latest contender in the highly competitive international SUV market has been likened to an African cheetah in terms of both its appearance and its performance. The XUV 500 is seen as having a body styling line “inspired by a pouncing cheetah” as well as the “physics-defying agility of a cheetah” with a “cheetah-inspired jaw-like grille” and vertical “paw-styled door handles.”

The high specification XUV 500 range consists of two-and four-wheel drive derivatives all powered by a transversely-mounted four-cylinder, 2,2-litre mHawk turbo diesel engine which develops 103kW of power at 3 750r/min and 330N.m of torque between 1 600 – 2 800r/min.

Transmission is a six-speed manual. The all-wheel drive system on the W8 AWD model has an interactive torque management system which switches seamlessly from two- to all-wheel drive.

The XUV 500 is a spacious seven-seater SUV of monocoque construction with an up-to-date mechanical specification and a high level of standard equipment. There is a choice of five exterior body colours.

Mahindra’s designers and development engineers put major focus on combining style, performance, technology, safety and comfort in a world class SUV package. Durability and performance testing has taken place in South Africa, Australia and Europe, as well as in India to ensure the XUV 500 is a worthy global contender.

“The launch of our first global SUV platform, the XUV500, is another proud moment in our automotive journey. For the Mahindra Group, the XUV500 represents ‘Rise’ in action as the team deployed alternative thinking to deliver a high level of technology and performance at an unbeatable price”.

“I am confident that the XUV500 will prove a worthy contender and find favour in the South African market,” said Dr. Pawan Goenka, President, Auto & Farm Equipment Sectors, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

 “The XUV500 is our first global SUV that has been completely designed and developed around the global customer, with extensive product validation and testing done across Europe, Australia, South Africa and India. The Mahindra XUV500 is a world class SUV offering an unbeatable combination of aspirational styling, advanced technology and safety features, comfort and convenience. And all this is available at an attractive starting price of R239 900,” said Mr. Pravin Shah, Chief Executive, Auto & Farm Equipment Sectors, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

The pricing in South Africa is very competitive, particularly considering the very comprehensive list of standard equipment. The starting point is R239 900 for the W6 4×2 model, rising to R269 900 for the higher specification W8 4×2 and R294 900 for the range-topping W8 with all-wheel drive.

“The launch of the new XUV500, is an important step in the development of the Mahindra brand in South Africa and will establish Mahindra as a very credible competitor in the medium range segment. This is also a special occasion for us as we are celebrating the seventh anniversary of our arrival in this country as a subsidiary of Mahindra of India. We have already built up a strong network of 43 sales and servicing dealers, which gives us a good footprint in most major regions of the country,” said Mr Ashok Thakur, CEO of Mahindra South Africa.

The other newcomer on the Mahindra stand at the Expo Centre was the Genio one-ton pick-up, which comes as a single or double cab with the option of four-wheel drive. Powered by the 2,2-litre turbo diesel m-Hawk engine the Genio has a very spacious load body and well-appointed interior.

In the past Mahindra has adapted Indian domestic models, such as the Bolero, Scorpio, Thar and Xylo, for sale in export markets. Now the Genio changes all that. It is the result of extensive worldwide research in terms of what the bakkie buyer requires in the various markets where this type of vehicle is popular.

The Genio was launched on the Indian market at the end of January and is now to be exported, initially to Africa – South Africa is the first country outside India to receive the Genio – and then to South and Central America, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia and Europe. It will go to 22 countries in Africa, with the priorities being South Africa, Algeria, Ghana, Angola, Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco.

This was also the first all new vehicle to be launched since the introduction of the Mahindra brand position, “Rise”, which was adopted in January. This is the first time that the company, as a Group which spans everything from aerospace to automotive from farm equipment to IT and logistics will communicate with one brand voice, one face and one core purpose

Mahindra sees the Genio as a versatile pick-up that sits between the requirements for a workhorse bakkie and a recreational vehicle. It starts off with a large load box to handle to work part of the equation, and goes through to optional four-wheel drive using a Borg Warner transfer case to handle extreme off-road conditions when it is used for recreational transport.

The Genio range consists of both single- and double-cab bakkies with the option of 4×2 or 4×4 transmissions and Mahindra SA has made sure they are well equipped in terms of specifications against their rivals, as well as being keenly priced. These are vital requirements as the local subsidiary of the Indian conglomerate seeks to use Genio to increase sales and market share substantially.

Initially only 4×2 models are available, with the 4×4 models to follow later in the year. Launch prices for are: R149 900 for the single cab, R189 900 for the double cab.
The other newcomer on the Mahindra stand at the Expo Centre was the new petrol version of the Scorpio SUV GLX. Powered by the new 2,2-litre 4 cylinder DOHC Petrol m-Hawk Engine producing 103kw at 4500 and 290Nm at 1750 to 3000.

The petrol Scorpio SUV consists of a 4×2 5 speed manual transmission and Mahindra SA has made sure they are well equipped in terms of specifications against their rivals, as well as being keenly priced.

These are vital requirements as the local subsidiary of the Indian conglomerate seeks to use the petrol Scorpio SUV to increase sales and market share substantially.

The launch price of the new petrol Scorpio SUV is R209 900 and includes a 3 year 100 000km warranty, 3 year 60,000km service plan and 1 year road side assistance.
In addition Mahindra SA displayed examples of the other models on the range it markets locally.

These are the Scorpio PikUp in single- and double-cab form, Bolero Loader bakkie, the rugged Thar off-roader, the Xylo panel van and the eight-seater derivative of the Xylo people mover.