INDIA has become a key pillar in the global automotive industry.
Automotive companies like Tata have made international acquisitions that have changed the face of the motoring industry.
By this, I am referring to Tata’s US$2,3 billion takeover of British legends Jaguar and Land Rover from America’s Ford Group.
Immediately after the takeover, Tata invested billions in research and development, which re-positioned the Jaguar and Range Rover brands and the Land Rover Discovery series.
Enter Mahindra, another automotive giant from India with over 60 years in the business.
Mahindra has been able to penetrate the South African market well and is seeking to do the same in Zimbabwe.
Last week, I sampled one of Mahindra’s products, the rugged 2,2-litre diesel Scorpio pick-up Adventure model.
This model comes equipped standard with a snorkel, and factory-fitted mag rims for the ultimate 4×4 challenge.
It also comes to the Zimbabwe market with a 150 000km powertrain warranty. With a 210mm ground clearance, a robust chassis and equipped with Eaton’s state-of-the-art Mechanical Locking Differential System, reacting to wheel speed differences and automatically putting more power on the tyres when needed most.
Sadly, not many Zimbabweans who buy 4×4 vehicles can actually use them for the purpose they are built for.
In Zimbabwe, Mahindra seeks to get its fair share of the market from potential customers of Toyota’s expensive but strudy 70 series Land Cruiser pick-up truck.
They are providing an alternative truck with similar capabilities and durability.
The starting price in Zimbabwe will be US$36 000 compared to Toyota Land Cruiser’s entry cost of US$53 000.
The price on its own makes Mahindra Scorpio attractive and affordable for those looking for a capable 4×4 that can hold its own in the off-roader segment.
The 70 Series Land Cruiser pick-up truck has, for a long time, been the most preferred truck by United Nations agencies and other organisations, including terrorist groups such as ISIS, who use it because of its ability to conquer any terrain without compromising on power.
For the local market, the Land Cruiser pick-up truck is only available in a 4,2-litre six-cylinder (straight-six) diesel engine, while its rival comes at a lower price and a 2,2-litre four-cylinder diesel variant.
The Scorpio’s 2,2-litre mHawk diesel engine comes with Bosch’s common rail technology which gives a fuel consumption of 8,8 litres per 100km.
The mHawk engine is the new generation of engines from Mahindra with a “small” displacement without sacrificing power.
As expected with diesel engines, it comes with turbo to give it that extra “oomph” which helps it churn 140bhp at 3 750rpm and 330Nm of torque at an rpm of 2 800. Thanks to research and development, in January this year Mahindra launched a smaller 2-litre diesel engine, which, they claim, delivers the performance capabilities as the 2,2-litre mHawk engines.
The development of the 2-litre diesel engines began in 2014 and the engines have already been launched.
Mahindra will deploy these small engines in the New Generation Scorpio and New Age XUV500.
This development is expected to give Mahindra a lead in sales of diesel vehicles with smaller engines following a Supreme Court ruling in that country which bans the registering of diesel cars with engines above 2-litre in New Dehli. Outside India, Mahindra now has research and development facilities in the United States.
Mahindra is a global brand and in February 2011 the Indian giant acquired a controlling stake in South Korean automaker SsangYong.
Zimbabweans are very particular with brands and don’t just buy cars.
My verdict is the Scorpio is a very good truck and is impressive given its sturdiness, very modern multi-function steering wheel and plenty of space in the cab, but Mahindra’s marketing has a lot of work to do to sell their otherwise good product in the Zimbabwean market.
All the best to Mahindra!
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