Eicher Polaris, the 50:50 joint venture between Eicher Motors and Polaris Industries, today launched at Jaipur its new personal utility vehicle, called Multix. The Multix is targeted at independent businessmen in India, a segment estimated to around 5.8 crore strong.
Designed grounds-up by Polaris and Eicher design and engineering teams in the USA and India, the Multix is “purpose-built, designed and powered by a reliable diesel engine”, according to company officials. The vehicle will have two variants and four colours with pricing starting at Rs 2.32 lakh and going up to Rs 2.72 lakh (ex-showroom Jaipur).
The Multix is powered by one of the smallest diesel engines in India, a 511cc motor sourced from engine maker Greaves Cotton. Radhesh C Verma, CEO of Eicher Polaris, told Autocar Professional that an existing Greaves engine has been modified for fitment in the Multix, This four-wheeler engine has been further engineered by Eicher Polaris before being married to an indigenously developed four-speed manual transmission. The Multix’s lightweight body structure has contributed to its high fuel economy of 28.45 kilometres per litre, he added.
L-R: Siddhartha Lal, MD & CEO, Eicher Motors; Radhesh C Verma, CEO, Eicher Polaris; and Mike Dougherty, VP, APAC & Latin America, Polaris Industries at the launch of the 511cc diesel-engined Multix.
The Multix can seat a family of five with luggage and can also be adapted to create a large luggage space of 1,918 litres from the existing 480 litres. The personal utility vehicle is equipped with X-Port, a power take-off point which can generate power of up to 3 KW that can be used for light generation for running refrigerators, homes and powering equipment such as drilling machines and water pumps, claims Eicher Polaris. A demonstration of this capability of the vehicle was on display on a visit to the plant. A Multix was pumping 1,000 litres of water per minute using 0.7 litres of fuel that is believed to involve a cost of Rs 40 per hour, leading to a saving of around Rs 100 compared to a tractor performing a similar activity.
The Multix has undergone homologation under the category of a personal vehicle by testing agency ARAI, according to Verma. The vehicle has been developed following extensive consumer study, gets a Pro-Ride independent suspension system and a ground clearance of 335mm. The Multix has a tubular frame structure and rollover protection system that provides structural stability and reinforced safety.
The Multix has undergone over 18 lakh kilometres of testing for off-road reliability, safety and durability, both on testing tracks in the USA and in India. The company has made an investment of Rs 350 crore till date, which has gone towards product development and in setting up a modern manufacturing plant in Jaipur, Rajasthan which will produce the Multix. The plant, which has robotic weld lines and an in-house paint system, has an annual manufacturing capacity of 60,000 units which can be scaled up to 120,000 units. The Multix is completely localised with about 104 suppliers supplying components for it from across India.
Speaking at the vehicle’s launch this morning in Jaipur, Siddhartha Lal, managing director and CEO of Eicher Motors, said: “We have identified a large, untapped segment in independent businessmen with an estimated population of 5.8 crore in India, and are committed to create a new and strongly differentiated automotive solution for them through Multix.”
Meanwhile, Mike Dougherty, vice-president, Asia Pacific and Latin America, Polaris Industries, spoke about how with Eicher Motors’ understanding of the Indian market, expertise in lean engineering platforms and Polaris Industries’ capabilities in product innovation and category creation, Eicher Polaris was able to develop this new product.
From Eicher Motors’ point of view, the Multix will be a way to tap the bottom end of the market. Considering that it also makes a varied range of trucks and Royal Enfield motorcycles, both of which are priced on the higher side, the aggressively priced Multix is aimed at the vast population of small traders and farmers in the country. The company expects they will use the five-seater Multix for both transporting produce as well as family. It also helps that Polaris Industries’ expertise in developing off-road vehicles and all-terrain vehicles gives the JV and the Multix the potential to take on Indian roads.
Eicher Polaris says the Multix will be available for test rides in July this year, followed by deliveries from August.