Scorpio to switch over to auto transmission
MAHINDRA & Mahindra (M&M) is all set to join the league of Honda, Toyota, Ford and General Motors by offering automatic transmission in its vehicles. The country’s largest utility vehicle maker will be the first Indian company to develop an indigenous automatic transmission which will be initially strapped on its Scorpio SUV. The new Scorpio will be pitted against Honda CRV, Ford Endeavour, Volvo XC90 and Maruti-Suzuki’s Grand Vitara. The new technology being developed by M&M’s research and development centre at Nasik will take it ahead of its rival and India’s largest Indian automobile company, Tata Motors, which offers manual transmission in all its vehicles. According to a company source, M&M is working on a six-speed automatic transmission for the flagship Scorpio model. This model is expected to be launched sometime in 2008 and will debut both in the domestic and the overseas markets, including South Africa and the US, the world’s most competitive market. According to a company source, M&M is developing the automatic transmission with an European technical partner (possibly Renault), which would be based on the much superior tourque-convertor technology, rather than the conventional continuous variable transmission technology. “We have developed the technology for commercial production and it is in the final stages of testing. It’s state-of-theart technology, which will be offered for the first time in India and will take our vehicles to the next level of performance on a par with our Korean and Japanese competitors,” a company source said. The new transmission system will be the standard fitment in all future Scorpio variants, including the hydrogen-powered, the hybrid version and the 2.2 litre Scorpio Eagle, likely to hit the road next year. Besides the Scorpio, the automatic transmission will also be strapped on the proposed multi-utility vehicle Ingenio and the Mahindra AXE, a special vehicle for the defence forces. The company plans to launch four new platforms and 10 new products by 2010