THE indigenous sports utility vehicle (SUV), Scorpio, is going for a makeover. Utility vehicle major Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) is currently working on a new set of refinement for its flagship SUV slated for US debut in 2009, the first Indian car to hit the US roads.
M&M is working on a state-of-the-art four-channel anti-lock brake systems (ABS), occupants safety system, new lumber seats and air bags, six-speed automatic transmissions, four wheel drive with electronic shift and a electronic vehicle stability system to be introduced in the Scorpio’s US variant. This version would be launched in India after three years.
M&M’s president (automotive sector) Pawan Goenka told ET, “We are making some fundamental changes in the Scorpio to meet stringent legal requirements of the US market. We are working on a new set of technologies which will be ready by next year for testing in the US.” The company is also developing a new communication and navigation system for the SUV which will be totally customised for the US. M&M’s senior vice-president (R&D) Arun Jaura told ET, “We want to make the Scorpio different for the US customers. There are stringent safety standards there and they are very different from Indian standards. Since Scorpio will be the first Indian vehicle to hit the US market, we are burning midnight oil to develop next-generation automotive safety standards and aesthetics for it.’’
“The new features would be futuristic and expensive for the Indian market. While the US debut is two years away, the domestic market will have to wait for a while for the high-tech Scorpio” Mr Goenka said. Mahindra already exports Scorpio to Malaysia, South Africa, Russia, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and other countries in Europe where it is known as Mahindra Goa. The company is also working on four new platforms which will roll out 10 new vehicles by 2010. Most of them would be global products for the worldwide market.
“We have plans to launch a few new products for the global market in the next few years. They may not be for the highly developed US and the European markets, but will cater to the demands of the emerging markets,” Mr Goenka added.