India’s largest utility vehicle maker, Mahindra & Mahindra is fast making inroads into the small commercial vehicle space. After garnering over 20-25% share in the mini truck segment with the Maxximo load and soft top van, the company on Friday launched a hard top minivan to take on Maruti Suzuki's Omni & Eeco.
Launched in the Ahmedabad market, the Maxximo Mini Van Vx BS III is priced at Rs 3.7 lakh ex-showroom Ahmedabad and is the only diesel hard top van in the country. The company claims it is 30-40% more spacious then Omni and offers a mileage of 18-20 kilometers per litre, thanks to the proven C2 common rail diesel engine. Also read: Mahindra Maxximo CNG Launched
Though all this, comes at an additional cost, which is approximately Rs 1 lakh higher than Maruti Suzuki's Omni.
Arun Malhotra, senior VP, sales & customer care, Automotive Division, Mahindra & Mahindra told ET, “Our aim is to offer a diesel vehicle that is stylish and best-in-class in space, comfort and operating economics. The hard top Van can be used for the purpose of school van, stage carrier application, used by tour and traveller operator and even the TV crew and inside the airport."
According to industry experts, around 20,000 mini vans are sold per month, with the market growing by 8-10% annually. Maruti Suzuki is dominant leader with the sales of over 12,000 units per month of Omni and Eeco, followed by Tata Motors which sells about 4,500 to 6,000 units of Magic & Magic Iris and Mahindra's own minivan Maxximo Van around 2,000 to 2,500 units a month.
With the new product, Mahindra hopes to add a minimum of 1,500 units a month.
To be launched in a phased manner, Ahmedabad and Jaipur are the first few key markets, where the van will be launched, before the vehicle is rolled out nationally within 3-6 month.
The hard top van is the fourth product offering on the flexible Maxximo platform, which has spawned products like Maxximo load, semi hard top van, a CNG pick up and now the hard top van produced out of the company's plant in Chakan, Maharashtra.
And since it is the fourth product on the flexible Maxximo platform, M&M has shelled out merely few crores for the development of the hard top minivan.
With its robust monocoque chassis, constructed with bigger box-sections for greater rigidity, and the booster-assisted Twin LSPV brakes and frontal crash protection, the Mini Van is also one of the safest products in its category, claims the company.
"This sliding door hard top variant of the Maxximo Mini Van has undergone rigorous test runs and has been validated on all performance, safety and reliability parameters. The vehicle is further supported by Mahindra's service network, which is one of the largest and spread across the country," added Malhotra.
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