Is Mahindra going off the track?

Mahindra Scorpio Automatic Price in MumbaiThere are only two types of people in this world. One those who love Mahindra cars and the other who hate. I’ve never met a person who’s got a neutral perception towards Mahindra vehicles. I am talking about mass audience here, not only about car guys. It’s never happened to me that whenever I am talking about cars with friends, family, or acquaintance they don’t come up with anything about this true-blue Indian SUV brand. For e.g., I’ve never found anyone who is as disappointed with the design of Scorpio’s rear-end, of both last generation and the new one, as my dad. On the other hand, I have a friend who owns a Bolero and abuses it more than his ex-girlfriend had (abused) him. He’s a proud Mahindra owner my friends. Then there are people who call the XUV500 a Chinese product but at the same time some jump off their seat in pride when the same (not-so) Chinese car makes a C-Class taste her rims at, mind you, 190 kmph! I’ve also met some people who like TUV300 more than its competitors but laugh at its front-end design which seems a result of impetuous job.

I myself lie in one of those two types of people. I plan to take an early retirement from work and set a small vacation cottage up in the hills; somewhere where to reach I’d need a full-fledged off-roader. I hope now you can guess which category of people I belong to.2015 Mahindra Thar facelift imagesYou can love or hate them but can’t ignore. Almost each of Mahindra vehicles has something unique to offer. For instance, the Scorpio might disappoint you with its unappealing design and interior layout but, no big words, it’s the most-potent proper SUV in sub-15 lakh space! Take the Bolero, it’s the undisputed best-selling UV in India for around 10 years in a row, I think. Same is the case with the XUV500 that is precious to Mahindra as a double-barrel gun is to a woodsman. At bottom, it challenges compact SUVs while at top is a direct competition to the likes of Toyota Innova and the upcoming Tata Hexa.

I personally believe that all this have become possible because this brand has managed to inject each of its products with its character DNA. A MA(h)N(indra) –ly character that almost all of its products embrace with pride, be it about design, architecture or performance. And projecting a clear picture of character, arguably, is something not every brand succeeds in. Take Chevrolet or Nissan. A large chunk of Indian audience, especially in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, doesn’t even know what kind of cars these brands do offer.

But I do have a point to make here. In order to increase its market share and explore new horizons of the Indian market, Mahindra seems to have begun going off the track. Their latest products oppose the brand philosophy. I am referring to KUV100 and the NuvoSport. Talking about the KUV100, while it’s great that Mahindra has taken a step ahead and brought in something really interesting for small car buyers, at the same time the KUV100 is a big disappointment for Mahindra fans. I mean who likes a Mahindra vehicle with curves? That also when incorporated in quite an unreasonable manner. It can be justified by saying that the trend wants this but if that’s the reality why e2o rivets attention even between the crowds.
Mahindra KUV100 curves

Moreover, if there’s space only for complicated designs, why the boxy shape of upcoming Suzuki Ignis captivates the fancy of even those who show up middle finger to Maruti. Not enough? Okay, consider the Renault KWID then. An entry-level vehicle that bespeaks its brand’s philosophy the same way a Sanskari Gujarati boy learns and embraces in-and-out of his ancestral business from his dad. KUV100 seems a spoilt brat here. Would you want to live in this world if Justin Beiber was the son of Kurt Cobain? I hope for yes unless you can’t find a difference between Madhubala and Sunny Leone. Kurt Cobain is Mahindra’s philosophy – raw, rugged and inflexible – here and the modern musicians can be connected to KUV100 – soulless rats in the race.

Nonetheless, I have a very soft corner for this brand in my heart. Every single car in their lineup, except KUV100 and NuvoSport, has a story to tell. What enchants me more is Mahindra not offering a single product with different cosmetics at different price tags, like many others can be found following such sterile approach. This is one brand that I believe if have launched a mid-size sedan can bring back the era of those sturdy badass-looking classic machines that used to have long hood, flat straightforward design, and an inexpressible mystical character. Until then, I’ll keep daydreaming about some classic cars and of course that off-roader for post-retirement plan.

I’d love to hear your views in the comments section below.

Another Interesting Read: Dear car-makers, think beyond playing only with size!