Mahindra & Mahindra has opted for the alpha-numeric name strategy, like the XUV500, for its next model.
The model will be called TUV300 (codename: U301). The sub-4-metre utility vehicle will be launched by mid-September. This TUV300 will be Mahindra first compact SUV based on a new platform. The "bulk" of the work for engineering and design of the product has been done in-house (Mahindra Research Valley and design studio in Kandivali).
The 'T' in TUV stands for tough. "When you have four SUVs in the market, it becomes very difficult to pick a niche which is not covered by something else, a product which will create its own position and standing or something that will not cannibalise. Therefore, we came up with this theme of 'tough. Tough, we are defining as different than rugged, different than off-road, different than touring and certainly not softroader," says Dr Pawan Goenka, executive director, Mahindra & Mahindra.
The TUV300 draws inspiration from the battle tank for its design. While most of the new SUVs are soft-roaders for urban use, the TUV300 wants to be seen more as a true-blue SUV. The designers have tried to mix the toughness and fullness of a tank along with refinement and modernity in the vehicle. Italian design house Pininfarina was consulted for the TUV300's design and engineering. There was speculation that the U301 could be a replacement for Mahindra's successful workhorse Bolero, but M&M clarified that it will not be but will co-exist with the Bolero. "It has nothing common with the Bolero, not even a single part," says Dr Goenka.
The TUV300 will be powered by a new engine based on the mHawk engine architecture that has been developed at Mahindra Research Valley, Chennai. It is likely to be a 1500c, 3-cylinder unit. Though positioned as a proper SUV, the TUV300 will not have a 4x4 version. It could be launched at a later stage. The model is also aimed for overseas markets. M&M is currently working on the left-hand-drive version and engine options to meet more stringent emission norms in many markets. Exports of the vehicle will begin in about a year from now.
The TUV300 will play a crucial role for Mahindra because this segment contributes to 40 percent of the overall utility vehicle market in India. As a UV market leader, M&M has to cover the entire UV spectrum to protect, and build, its turf. Therefore, the all-new model (codename: S101) after the TUV300 will be a softroader.