Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), the largest utility vehicle manufacturer in the country, is developing a multi purpose vehicle (MPV) based on Maxximo, its small truck. The vehicle is currently being tested at the Mahindra Research Valley in Chennai. The timeline for the launch the product has not yet been frozen.

“Developing an MPV on this platform requires a lot of changes in areas such as power and transmission,” said a person familiar with the development.

M&M’s Maxximo portfolio currently includes a mini truck and a mini van. The company’s passenger van on the same platform is also expected to be production-ready soon and is slated for launch in this fiscal. India’s fast-growing MPV segment has been attracting automakers by the hordes.

Currently, companies like Tata Motors, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and M&M offer products. The latest to join the list is market leader Maruti Suzuki with the Ertiga. The Nissan-Ashok Leyland joint venture is also expected to launch its offering, called the Evalia, later this year, while General Motors plans to roll out Enjoy.

In the past couple of years, MPVs have found increasing acceptance from customers with larger families and fleet operators. The vehicles, which once contributed just 2% to overall passenger car sales, drive around 11-12% of the topline now. “With so many players entering, I don’t see a lot of cannibalisation happening in this segment as the market will grow further,” said Abhishek Banerjee, senior analyst of Asian Market Securities.

Source - DNA