Mahindra bets big on Roxor for the USA market

by Autocar Pro News Desk & Mayank Dhingra 02 Mar 2018


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Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA), the Detroit-based American subsidiary of India’s Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) Group, today unveiled its new side-by-side off-road SUV - Mahindra Roxor - for the US market.

Christened the Mahindra Roxor, the off-highway vehicle is a derivative of the proven Mahindra Thar SUV sold in India, albeit, thoroughly re-engineered to suit to the needs, as well as comply with the norms, of the American automotive market.

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Dr Pawan Goenka: “Mahindra’s 70-year automotive history has been forged by making authentic, rugged, purpose-driven vehicles; Roxor is the embodiment of this history and our brand.” 

Speaking at the global reveal of the Roxor, Dr Pawan Goenka, managing director, M&M, said: “The Roxor is going to start a new journey for Mahindra in the US, establishing our reputation of offering tough, durable and rugged off-road vehicles, just like what we have accomplished with our tractors being sold here.”

The Roxor has been developed solely for the USA market. Speaking to Autocar Professional in November 2017, Dr Goenka had confirmed the same.

What started as an engineering arm (Mahindra North American Technical Centre) in 2013, with only seven engineers working through a shared office in Detroit, Mahindra’s overseas division
was converted into MANA in 2017, with an ambition of producing relevant products from the automotive hub of America. The company today employs over 300 individuals.

Rajan Wadhera, president - Automotive, M&M, said, “We see huge potential for M&M in Michigan in the future and we are here to prove to the US that our vehicles are as tough and robust as the market demands. The Mahindra Roxor promises to be
an SUV with hard-engineered Mahindra DNA.”

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“The Roxor creates a new sub-segment in the Side x Side industry, and the response we’re getting from our newly appointed dealer body has been really outstanding. We have a National Dealer Meeting scheduled on March 18-20th, in San Antonio, Texas, where we’ll sit down and discuss the roll-out and future product offerings. We’re approaching our goal of 300 '1st wave' dealers, and expect that we’ll reach this target between now and the end of the show,” said Rick Haas, Mahindra North America Automotive’s president and CEO. 

Thar-based Euro 6 Mahindra for the USA
While the Mahindra Roxor is based on the Mahindra Thar, the SUV has a stainless steel body built on a boxed steel ladder frame. It is powered by the 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
motor from the Thar, which does duty in the SUV back in India, but, in a Euro 6 guise in the USA. The engine develops 62bhp of power and 194Nm of peak torque.

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The Roxor is powered by the 2.5L, 4-cyl, turbocharged diesel engine from the Mahinda Thar, but in Euro 6 guise in the USA.

Meant to be a hardy vehicle in the mould of the Thar, the Roxor gets four-wheel-drive as standard. As it falls in the off-highway category of motor vehicles in the US, top speed is limited to 72kph. Mahindra is trying to position the Roxor as a rival to other side by sides like the Polaris RZR ATV and the Kawasaki Mule Pro series. Interestingly, while others in the segment typically use smaller two-cylinder engines and all-round independent suspension, Mahindra has used a four-cylinder engine and simpler leaf-sprung rigid axles at the front and rear. Another interesting bit is the use of a five-slat grille on the Roxor, unlike the typical seven-slat grille of Mahindra’s current vehicles, also seen on Jeeps.

The SUV is going to be completely different from the belt-driven side-by-side offerings sold in America, and gets a 5-speed manual transmission, along with a 2-speed transfer case.

For the first six months, the two-seat Roxor will be offered with few customisation options. However, everything from the exterior and interior colours, safari seats and back seats and ride heights to the hard tops, winches and side enclosures will be offered with a high level of personalisation. In fact, buyers will be able to select from over 900 paint shades.

According to Rick Haas, president and CEO, MANA, “The Roxor is our first commercially available product from MANA in the US and we believe that it is going to be a game-changer in the side-by- side off-road vehicle category.”

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The MANA plant assembles the Roxor from CKD kits. Buyers will be able to select from over 900 paint shades! (Image courtesy: Anand Mahindra/Twitter)

While the Roxor will majorly be assembled at MANA’s Detroit facility from CKD kits, the paint work will be done in-house, along with a few components like tyres and winch, which will be sourced locally.
“The project is a symbiotic relationship between the ‘Make in India’ and the 'Make America Great Again’ programs, and is a proof that more jobs could be created in both the countries and investments be leveraged through collaborative efforts,” said Haas.

Mahindra has been assembling the American Willys in India since the 1940s and for long used the Jeep name under licence, albeit the Indian carmaker no longer holds the rights to the Jeep brand. At the launch of the Roxor, Mahindra did make a clear reference to its American ties.

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MANA-made Roxor
The Roxor was conceived, designed, engineered and is being produced in Metro Detroit by Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA). MANA is part of the $19B Mahindra Group and recently opened a new NA Automotive headquarters and manufacturing center in Auburn Hills, MI. MANA’s new operation is the central component of the 400,000 sq. ft. (spanning 3 facilities) footprint Mahindra now has in Metro Detroit, and is the first OEM manufacturing/assembly facility to open operations in Southeast Michigan in over 25 years.

MANA has, to date, created 300 new jobs and invested over $230 million into Southeast Michigan. As both Roxor production and other programs ramp up, Mahindra expects it will create an additional 400 jobs and invest another $600 million in the local economy by 2020. 

MANA is Mahindra’s North American automotive headquarters. In addition to leading all North America activity, it is a comprehensive automotive design, engineering and vehicle development center. Established in 2013 and located in Auburn Hills, Michigan, MANA’s team of veteran executives, engineers and designers working with affiliate Mahindra automotive teams in India, Korea and Italy, is playing a key role in growing Mahindra’s global automotive business. 

The new plant is less than an hour's drive from Ford Motor Co's global headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. Mahindra and Ford have embarked on exploring a potential alliance in multiple areas including sourcing, product development and also improving Mahindra's reach outside India and Ford's within India. Dr Goenka had last year told Autocar Professional that, among other things, both OEMs are very bullish on shared mobility and electric vehicles. According to sources, Mahindra and Ford could come together to enter the EV market in the US too.

Also read: Mahindra Automotive North America signs 215 dealers in less than 4 months


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