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Old 25th March 2009, 01:20   #46
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I just got this screenshot from Mahindra and it is really great. I really feel that Mahindra can do well with these pickups.

btw, is there any difference between 'Diesel' and 'Clean Diesel'?

Wow! Is Mahindra silently making its way into the USA? EDIT: Got EPA go-ahead Pg. 9-mah_us.jpg
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Old 25th March 2009, 05:15   #47
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Same site, look at the Safety feature and it has Front smart dual stage Airbag for driver and passenger, it also has 6 speed automatic with 4x4 and traction control system, why not on the Indian version?

-Pramod
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Old 25th March 2009, 05:49   #48
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If you notice the earlier Korean models had these gaudy ugly overdone front designs and they have toned it down drastically. Look at the latest i10, i20, Verna. Mahindra will eventually learn that you don't have to have a gaudy and ugly front end to make a statement.

In my opinion they these pick ups will not succeed here. Let me explain why.

People in the US don't really care that much about mileage and diesel. There are a number of fringe/informed buyers who do, but majority of folks don't. When petrol prices moved to about $4 a gallon diesel was more expensive than the highest grade of petrol in most parts of the country. When petrol prices were at the peak sales of large SUVs were dropped drastically and the hotest models were small cars like the Honda Fit. Fast forward a couple of months and now that gas is below $2 SUV sales have picked up and Honda FITs and Civics are languishing on dealer lots. Americans are not inherently savers and they will save only if their hand is forced something like $4 gallon petrol.

Secondly vehicles are typically driven at much higher average speeds than in India and the handling issues of Scorpio that most of us have dealt with in India will not be safe in the US.

Thirdly pick up buyers in the US generally prefer V6 engines eventhough a four cylynder options is available in some of the compact pick ups. It is due to lack of demand that many manufacturers don't even bother to offer 4 cylynder engines.

Last edited by 4x4addict : 25th March 2009 at 06:01.
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Old 25th March 2009, 07:31   #49
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Default Clean Diesel

The way the things are going in US, driving a clean diesel will become a style statement soon.

If you dont trust me Check out the new 2009 VW Jetta to be launched in US. Advertising as clean diesel by itself should be a selling point and their new mHawk engine is quite amazing. If priced right it will sell.

As for American layman Diesels' are noisy, smelly and smoky. A clean diesel does not have all these disadvantages. In technical terms all mordern diesels(CRDI) engines are clean diesels.

Last edited by arunmur : 25th March 2009 at 07:33.
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Old 25th March 2009, 08:07   #50
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If you dont trust me Check out the new 2009 VW Jetta to be launched in US. Advertising as clean diesel by itself should be a selling point and their new mHawk engine is quite amazing. If priced right it will sell.
Don't you think it is a bit far fetched to compare the latest Jetta TDI with the Scorpio? Jetta TDI is a terrific vehicle which btw sells for its technology not because it is the cheapest option available. The pick up market is very differetnt from the educated yuppie market that Jetta targets.

Another diesel model that is popular amongst diesel enthusiasts in the US is the E320 CRD. I don't think these buyers will spring for the Scorpio either. The existing compact double cab pick ups can be had in the low twenties and the only reason why someone would want to spring for a Scorpio is that if they want the diesel and they are willing to take a risk on a brand that they haven't heard about before.

The Koreans came with crappy models and beat a hasty retreat. It took them many years to gain the respect back and they had to offer 10 year 1 lakh mile warranties to capture the market. I don't think Scorpio is ready for developed markets yet. I think rather than screw up the brand in haste, they should wait for the next generation Scorpio/SUV before they try to break into the US market. Don't forget that many european brands like Peugot have tried and pulled out. You are talking about the most competitive and brutal market in the world.

Last edited by 4x4addict : 25th March 2009 at 08:13.
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Old 25th March 2009, 10:53   #51
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Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
If you notice the earlier Korean models had these gaudy ugly overdone front designs and they have toned it down drastically. Look at the latest i10, i20, Verna. Mahindra will eventually learn that you don't have to have a gaudy and ugly front end to make a statement.

In my opinion they these pick ups will not succeed here. Let me explain why.

People in the US don't really care that much about mileage and diesel. There are a number of fringe/informed buyers who do, but majority of folks don't. When petrol prices moved to about $4 a gallon diesel was more expensive than the highest grade of petrol in most parts of the country. When petrol prices were at the peak sales of large SUVs were dropped drastically and the hotest models were small cars like the Honda Fit. Fast forward a couple of months and now that gas is below $2 SUV sales have picked up and Honda FITs and Civics are languishing on dealer lots. Americans are not inherently savers and they will save only if their hand is forced something like $4 gallon petrol.

Secondly vehicles are typically driven at much higher average speeds than in India and the handling issues of Scorpio that most of us have dealt with in India will not be safe in the US.

Thirdly pick up buyers in the US generally prefer V6 engines eventhough a four cylynder options is available in some of the compact pick ups. It is due to lack of demand that many manufacturers don't even bother to offer 4 cylynder engines.
4x4 addict, you forgot another important consideration for the US market- Interior space.

Americans are generally big built people, and more so teh kind who use pick-up trucks. A scorpio is cramped for even a large Indian (which is average build by US standards) so I dont really see too many people taking fancy to the scorpio or its pick up version in the US
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Old 25th March 2009, 11:07   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arunmur View Post
The way the things are going in US, driving a clean diesel will become a style statement soon.

If you dont trust me Check out the new 2009 VW Jetta to be launched in US. Advertising as clean diesel by itself should be a selling point and their new mHawk engine is quite amazing. If priced right it will sell.

As for American layman Diesels' are noisy, smelly and smoky. A clean diesel does not have all these disadvantages. In technical terms all mordern diesels(CRDI) engines are clean diesels.
Common rail engines are not clean diesels by default. Its mostly the exhaust treatment along with particulate filters which cleans up these diesels.
Why can't Mahindra introduce this in India? It would be a great way if they introduce it in the upcoming(?) 2011 small car.
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Old 25th March 2009, 17:28   #53
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Common rail engines are not clean diesels by default. Its mostly the exhaust treatment along with particulate filters which cleans up these diesels.
Fact is, common rail diesels are cleaner, quieter and more powerful by default. While BS-III norm can be achieved without common rail technology by simply fitting turbo or exhaust gas recirculation systems to old generation diesel engines (as evidenced by Indica, Tata Ace, Sumo Victa), BS-IV emission requires the use of common rail. If BS-IV were achievable without using expensive CRDI technology, manufacturers wouldn't bother to invest in it.

Incidentally, as of now, no diesel vehicle in India is fitted with particulate matter filter since the prevalent BS-III norm can be met without using such filters.

Last edited by directinjection : 25th March 2009 at 17:29.
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Old 25th March 2009, 18:39   #54
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I dont know how M&M is going to sell in the US. In South Africa, an M&M dealer was recently interviewed on NDTV and he mentioned that he is barely selling 3-4 vehicles per month.

I think M&M should think clever and focus on emerging markets like most of the African markets and the South American markets. Unless they are coming up with something totally different (like a revolutionary hybrid or like what Reva did in London), it will be very difficult to make a clean break in a developed country.

Well, my luck to them.
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Old 25th March 2009, 19:43   #55
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I dont know how M&M is going to sell in the US. In South Africa, an M&M dealer was recently interviewed on NDTV and he mentioned that he is barely selling 3-4 vehicles per month.

I think M&M should think clever and focus on emerging markets like most of the African markets and the South American markets. Unless they are coming up with something totally different (like a revolutionary hybrid or like what Reva did in London), it will be very difficult to make a clean break in a developed country.

Well, my luck to them.
Very valid point. Rather than fall flat on their face, they should establish a foot hold in markets that are easier like African and some eastern european markets. US is not the place to learn the game. If Mahinda sullies it's reputation in the US before the products are world class, it will not help the Mahindra brand in the long run.

It took the Koreans over 15 years and their products are generally much more modern than Indian products. Koreans did it the smarter way by building earlier versions of the Japanese models and then improvising on them.
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Old 25th March 2009, 22:24   #56
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I'll tell you what the threat to them and to the likes of tata is.

You have to sell the market what it wants. not what you have to sell. that screenshot shows a vehicle that will never ever gain a presence in europe or the US, except as a road worthy farm implement.

The vehicle in that picture shows that Mahindra is immature and not only is it immature, its appreciation for its own maturity is low, and its appreciation of the US market's expectations is low.

In general terms it is easy to say "oh we know its not very refined and americans want refinement". But thats not enough. because this vehicle shouts from the roof tops the degree of Mahindra' immaturity and its disconnect from the US market.

It demonstrates the very sort of immaturity and disconect that the South Koreans did till very recently.

The scorpio in that picture looks like it was a styled by an amateur, not by a talented team of designers who have studied under the tutelage of styling masters. There is no uniformity of line or theme. just a lot of wierd elements slapped together. No doubt it looks hot to the untrained INdian eye, but it won't fly in the US. The front bumper, the grill, the bonnet, the vent in the bonnect, the style line along the side and over the wheels, show no integration, no rhyme or reason, just done for the sake of doing, made elaborate for the sake of not being plain.

The wheels look like cheap aftermarket $59.99 specials you'd buy in a ghetto. The line at the bottom of the green house doesn't know what its doing. the proportions of the two boxes of the two box body are out of whack.

More than anything, the scorpio shows that Mahindra is extremely immature.

the truth is, Mahindra made a vehicle for the unsophisticated India market and now it thinks that just by jazzing it up, it can sell the vehicle in the world's toughest market.

I used to have a current model Toyota Camry CE. 2.4L with a 5 speed gear box. Its level of equipment was comparable to my dad's Indian market 2002 model Honda Accord. You know how much I paid for it here in the US? the equivalent of Rs 9lacs. That level of capability, polish and sophistication for $18,000. if Mahindra thinks that people will pay that much, or more, for a Scorpio just because it has 4wd and a clean diesel, they need to reconsider.

If Mahindra wants to play in this market, it should post a team here to understand what this market demands, what strengths Mahindra has and how it can marry them to produce success for itself, and then engineer a vehicle that meets the design, performance and quality criteria established by the American team.

That costs money. engineer a new vehicle from the ground up to sell in the US costs a LOT of money.

So Mahindra is trying to peddle a jazzed up scorpios.

THe problem facing everybody from Tata to Mahindra is that not enough Indians understand the western market. Not even the super smart ones. If you took Mahindra's product planning and marketing team, and you gave them a team of lexus engineers and unlimited funding, they STILL wouldn't come up with the type of product that Honda or Toyota would, and not for a lack of engineering talent or funds, but a lack of understanding of what really truly makes a good car, as judged in the west.

There is a massive disconnect between India and the west. If you are looking to sell industrial and commercial products, it doesn't matter. if you are looking to sell the final consumer, you had better understand that consumer better than he understands himself, and you'd better understand what he likes and why.

India just doesn't have that sophistication at this point.

Consider that the 2002 Honda accord was handily outsold in India by the Sonata. Indians loved the sonata. the accord was just a bland boring car. but in the US, it is the accord that sells and that generation of the Sonata did not sell.

Until Indians understand why, they should not even dream of playing in the US market. They did not understand why. The Sonata was not a good car compared to the Accord. But it didn't seem to matter to the buyers and to the auto magazines who gushed over the Sonata and scorned the dull looking Accord. This point is not proof of anything, only a directional illustrator that the Indian consumer, designer, businessman, is largely ignorant about the factors that are essential to success in the westen market place.

Last edited by Harbir : 25th March 2009 at 22:40.
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Old 25th March 2009, 23:04   #57
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Harbir, what you said may be true and logical but then no one knows how market reacts. Style, Class and Functionality have different meanings to different people. Not everyone can think alike, if they did then the world would be a homogeneous place with no variety and TBHP would not have had die hard Scorpio supporters or die hard Safari supporters.

The Koreans sold this junk when they first entered the american market:
1996 Hyundai Tiburon and Accent. They were crappy designs by any standards and horrible looking vehicles when compared to Japanese imports, still Hyundai sold enough vehicles to keep themselves in market long enough to make thie 2010 Hyundai Genesis. There were enough americans who looked at VFM of Korean vehicles inspite of their disadvantages compared to slightly expensive japanese and American vehicles. I do not see why Mahindra would be any different when it comes to looks. As long as they price it correct and market it right, I see Mahindra succeding irrespective of how the vehicle looks.
In any case, Mahindra knows the US market well enough, the rural one atleast. It is already an established player in the tractor market, giving the likes of John Deere a run for its money. John Deere makes one of the best tractors - both design wise and performance wise, yet mahindra stole customers from them by selling cheaper vehicles.
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Old 26th March 2009, 00:30   #58
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I do not see why Mahindra would be any different when it comes to looks. As long as they price it correct and market it right, I see Mahindra succeding irrespective of how the vehicle looks.
In any case, Mahindra knows the US market well enough, the rural one atleast. It is already an established player in the tractor market, giving the likes of John Deere a run for its money. John Deere makes one of the best tractors - both design wise and performance wise, yet mahindra stole customers from them by selling cheaper vehicles.
I think the comparison to the Tractor market is completely irrelevant . I remember reading an article in the Fortune Magazine that John Deere got it's Indian arm to design an affordable tractor and it is capturing a big chunk of the low end tractor market. Do you have any idea of the volumes of Tractors Mahindra sells in the US compared to John Deere?
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Old 26th March 2009, 00:43   #59
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Hyundai is a perfect example of what I am talking about. Even today, Hyundai suffers the stigma of being a cheap low class korean car. The Azera and the Genesis are excellent cars, exactly what the US market would respect if they had a different brand name on them, but even having such good cars, Hyundai has to sell them at a discount compared to equal caliber Japanese or european cars, and even despite the price, it does not sell as many Azeras and Genesis as their more expensive Japanese and European rivals sell their models.

I am an unflinching believer in the idea that companies entering a top flight market have to do things right, from the very beginning, or they condemn themselves to 30+ years of languishing with a low value brand name, low residual values, and they have to spend 30+ years trying to compete on cost despite having a good product.

Its about establishing credibility and respectability. A friend of mine has a Porsche 997 Carrera 4S and a Subaru Impreza 2.5i that drives around town and in bad weather and enjoys it immensely. He has no problems with inexepensive cars. but I asked him if he would buy a Hyundai Genesis he said "absolutely not" Why not? "Because its a Hyundai. I don't care how good it is".

No, it is not possible for Mahindra to come in with a Honda caliber car right from the get go, nor should they try.

But a cavalier attitude in the beginning will have reprecussions for decades. The first entry into the market should be absolutely as good as you can make it. If that means hiring lotus to design and tune your chassis and engine and ZF to design the transmission, and siemens to do the electronics, and Guigiaro to design the body, and another phalanx of manufacturing engineering consultants, then you should do it.

if you are just going to slap some ugly plastic trim on your existing third world quality product and peddle it to the western world, you will pay for it. You may sell them. You may even sell enough to be delighted. You may even make enough profit to stay happy at the bottom. But you will condemn yourself to a third class citizen status in the market for decades.

and in that case, you're just somebody in it to make a few bucks, not be a leading edge innovator of product design, brand and market strategy, etc. If thats what Mahindra wants, thats fine, but speaking for myself its not a company I would care to be associated with.
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Old 26th March 2009, 06:10   #60
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We want to kill the child before its birth!!! with all due respect, if the american company knew what american people wanted and thats what was built, I am sure they would not have faced the situation they are in right now. Thats said and done, mahindra has got all the returns on investment on project scorpio in all these year, and its a safe bet to introduce anywhere in world rather than design a new vehicle for that market and fail. If at all it fails, and that what everybody is predicting they would still not lose more money, they already mentioned on site about there future vehicle in 2011.. that may be the vehicle that they would design and launch as per the market feedback gathered by test mule scorpio.

Give a chance guys, let them roll the vehicle and then let it die in peace or excel with flying color, market has proven many pundits wrong many a times.

I am in US right now and see the condition and demand people are are looking for VFM in each and everything small to big.

-Pramod

Last edited by pramods : 26th March 2009 at 06:14.
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