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M&M to do an Ace next year

business Updated: Sep 12, 2008 20:40 IST
Sumant Banerji

Domestic utility vehicle major Mahindra and Mahindra is all set to give the house of Tatas a run for its money in the sub-one-tonne load carrier segment. M&M is planning to launch a mini truck next year, that will compete directly with Tata’s latest super success Ace.

“We are planning to launch a light commercial vehicle that will fall between our existing line of three wheelers and pick ups by next year,” said Pawan Goenka, president, M&M automotive sector. “This vehicle will cater to the demands of ensuring last mile distribution network and we see great potential in the segment.”

At present, Tata Ace (launched in May 2005), has a near monopoly in the sub-one-tonne segment, having already sold over 100,000 units. Cashing in on its success, Tata has expanded its platform to roll out passenger vehicle variants like Magic and Winger as well.

Mahindra’s new vehicle, which will be indigenously developed, will be cheaper than its Maxx Maxi trucks that have a higher 1.5 tonne pay load capacity and cost over Rs 3.5 lakh. The vehicle will be outside the purview of M&M’s joint venture with US truckmaker Navistar with whom it is already developing a 25-tonne truck.

Despite its foray into passenger cars, commercial vehicles and recently two wheeler businesses, Goenka said utility vehicles will continue to be the focus area. “We will continue to look at opportunities for growth but utility vehicles firmly remain our focus,” he said. “We may collaborate with others for passenger cars either for technology or marketing, but our utility vehicles business will always be independent.”

The company’s next offering in the utility vehicles space would be the Ingenio, which will plug the gap between existing products like Bolero and Scorpio. A new SUV based on the Scorpio platform is also being developed for a 2010 launch.