Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. (M&M) is hoping to bring about a huge churning in the premium segment with the launch of locally-designed and developed XUV 500, its first global SUV (sports utility vehicle) platform.
In an interaction with this correspondent here on Friday, Arun Malhotra, Senior Vice-President (Sales & Customer Care), said M&M “will try and create a mass market in the premium category” with the launch of XUV 500. A combination of initiatives ranging from aggressive pricing to provision of a host of features akin to those available at the top-end and giving customers a ‘refreshing experience' would fetch XUV 500 the kind of appeal and attraction to redefine the premium category, he said.
To begin with, the vehicle sale will commence in five cities — Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Pune and Mumbai.
The W6 model will be priced at Rs.10.96 lakh ex-showroom Chennai. The W8 2WD model will be available at Rs.12.13 lakh and the W8 all wheel drive (AWD) model at Rs.13.07 lakh.
Mr. Malhotra said XUV 500 was a vehicle that could ideally attract buying interest from luxury car aspirants, people who looked for more features for the same or less money and those customers who moved up the price point.
On the marketing strategy for XUV 500, he said, “it is more about selling an experience”. Mr. Malhotra said M&M had embarked on an eight-day programme at its plant in Chakan for its salesmen to experience the product. “Once they experience it themselves, they may be in a better position to convince the customers,” he said.
Showrooms had been redesigned for an aesthetic display of the vehicle. Touch screen kiosks had been set up to facilitate aspiring buyers to view the vehicle in its entirety from different angles, he added.
On the rising interest rate and the on-and-off suggestion about the possibility of a differential diesel price for car use, Mr. Malhotra merely pointed to the over 26 per cent growth in vehicle sales recorded by M&M in the first five months of this financial year.
The automobile industry always found itself in a test match-like situation, he said. Winning initial customers could be easy. Creating a big segment, however, would be challenging.
This was what M&M hoping to do with the launch of XUV 500, he added.