New tech-laden Scorpio debuts

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) launched an upgraded version of its Scorpio sports utility vehicle on March 6 in Mumbai. Powered by the company’s 2.2-litre diesel mHawk engine (on the LX, SLE and VLX variants) which is now Euro 4 (BS-IV) compliant, the new Scorpio is priced from Rs 7.21 lakh (ex-showroom- New Delhi) for the base LX version, to Rs 9.99 lakh for the top-end VLX Automatic.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 16 Mar 2009 Views icon17278 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
These prices have reduced the Scorpio’s price sticker between Rs 34,000 to Rs 70,000 over the earlier model. Mahindra claims the reductions were made possible by a combination of declining commodity prices, improved operational efficiency and greater economies of scale, due to the production volumes being contributed by the recently launched Xylo model.

Exterior and interior changes to the new Scorpio include a new front grille, multi-focal headlights with new reflector design, aerodynamic bonnet scoop, fog lamps, new bumpers, embossed side cladding, new door handles, rear integrated footstep, ergonomic seats, plush upholstery, powered side mirrors, 2-Din audio system, sporty gear knob, parking brake and digital immobiliser. The Scorpio is also available in two new shades – Mystique Purple and Toreador Red.

According to Dr Pawan Goenka, president, Automotive Sector, M&M, “The Scorpio’s strong value proposition lies in its versatility, its ability to morph and mould itself according to the changing template of customer needs. The new Scorpio remains a true- blue Mahindra vehicle at heart and with its macho, stylish looks and amazing go-anywhere capability; it will further enhance our domination of the UV market,” “Mahindra’s ingenious approach to driving efficiencies and costs has enabled us to provide additional customer value up to Rs 70,000. The new Scorpio has the ability to expand the market and to appeal to a new set of customers,” added Rajesh Jejurikar, chief of operations, Automotive Sector, M&M.

The company is repositioning its new Scorpio as a sports utility vehicle, with a premium image and genuine off-roading capability in order to make room in its line-up for the newly launched Xylo. Hence the company has settled on the marketing tagline, Mighty Muscular Scorpio’ and will be using this in all its advertising and promotion of the vehicle from now on. With this launch Mahindra is the first to launch a Euro 4-compliant engine in India, doing so 13 months ahead of the introduction of these norms in April 2010. The 120bhp, 4-cylinder, mHawk diesel engine, accelerates the vehicle to 60kph in 5.7 seconds. It uses a second-generation Bosch-supplied common-rail fuel injection system, with solenoid injectors and has four valves per cylinder. The engine also features an innovative two-stage chain drive system and hydraulic lash adjuster that cut down on noise levels.

Mahindra estimates an additional cost of Rs 10,000 per engine, for these upgrades, with the development work being mostly done in-house, with some help from Bosch.

Given that low sulphur diesel fuel required for Euro 4 engines is not currently being sold in the country, Mahindra also had to increase the platinium content in the catalytic converter to cope with the higher sulphur content in the fuel. Hence, the platinium level is currently at 50 grams per ft/cube, which would be reduced to 15 grams per ft/cube, when low sulphur diesel is introduced in April next year. While Euro 4 diesel has just 50ppm of sulphur, current Euro 3 grade diesel has much higher levels of sulphur of around 350ppm.

The company is confident that demand for the new Scorpio would be strong, given its lower price tag and enhanced features and believes the real challenge is to ramp up production quickly. Currently the company is producing around 100 vehicles per day at its manufacturing plant in Nashik. Among the new technologies that M&M has packed into the new Scorpio are 'Tyretronics' which displays the tyre pressure and temperature of each tyre on the instrument cluster.

The new Scorpio also has an 'Intellipark' system which uses sensors in the rear bumpers that are linked to a display in the rear view mirror. This system helps the driver, while reversing the vehicle.

Other safety kit includes 'Smart Rain and Light Sensors' that turn the headlights on and off automatically depending on the light conditions and also control the wiper speed depending on the intensity of rain. To ensure safer braking performance, the vehicle also comes with an Anti-Lock Braking System that prevents wheel lock-up under emergency braking and the vehicle also has the 'Cruise Control' system.

In a segment first, Mahindra has fitted a digital immobiliser system onto the vehicle. This anti-theft system includes the switch and key (with embedded microchip) supplied by Minda Valeo, while the ECU controller is supplied by Interface.

The Scorpio audio system is now the 2-Din unit from the Xylo. Supplied by Nippon Audiotronix, it can play MP3, CDs, SD cards and USB devices.

Start-Stop now on Scorpio

Mahindra has also launched a modified version of the Bosch-supplied Start-Stop system that it calls ‘Micro Hybrid’, on the VLX and M2DI versions of the new Scorpio. These versions are expected to contribute to around 50 percent of the total sales volume for the new Scorpio. The Start-Stop system has been modified by reducing the time interval for engine stoppage from 10 seconds earlier, to two seconds now, in order to further improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

The company plans to introduce this system on all other versions of the new Scorpio in the future and Bosch is currently ramping up production to meet the demand.

“We are especially pleased to be the first company to launch a BS-IV compliant vehicle in India, more than a year before it becomes mandatory and are also delighted to introduce Micro Hybrid technology on the Scorpio.” said Rajan Wadhera, chief of engineering & development, Automotive Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra.
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