When India’s top SUV manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra announced that it will launch automatic version of its popular vehicle XUV500 in Algeria and South American nations, its fans in domestic market were sorely disappointed with the firm. However from recent spy pictures available online of Mahindra’s test car it appears as if the XUV500’s automatic version is being tested in India. Though there had been rumors after overseas launch that India may soon receive an automatic variant too, it has not been officially confirmed by Mahindra therefore news of launch is still tentative though fans are eagerly waiting for this version. Though Indian customers were earlier wary about new technology the recent success of Maruti’s gearless technology has shown that automatic gearbox system will be welcomed even if it consumes more fuel.
After Mahindra acquired South Korean firm SsangYong in 2011 it was decided to develop produce and launch products under Mahindra SangYong brand after 2015. Under this partnership it was also decided to work together on developing engines and transmission boxes for use on these cars so their products would be more technologically superior and they would not have to depend on outside sources for critical auto-parts. The first among these automatic transmission boxes currently being developed by both Mahindra and SsangYong are to be affixed on XUV500 expected to be launched in Africa and South America along with India. The new products which will be launched by this partnership between 2015 and 2018 will also be fitted with automatic gearboxes manufactured by SsangYong Mahindra engineering division.
The automatic transmission currently being used on latest Mahindra Scorpio was made at DSi by Bosch exclusively for this model of Mahindra and now that the firm will be making automatic gearboxes by itself it remains to be seen if existing one will be used or new in-house transmission equipment will be attached. The existing Mahindra XUV500 is powered by 2.2 liter turbo diesel engine which delivers powerful output of 140 bhp and maximum torque of 330 Nm. With the additional power of automatic gearbox and automated manual transmission or AMT mechanism the versatility and ease of driving for the XUV 500 will increase along with its popularity.
Mahindra had launched an AMT version of its compact SUV Quanto at Auto Expo 2014 in Delhi and its gearbox was designed by internationally renowned engineer Ricardo of United States. Though the firm has received enquiries about the AMT version of this car bookings have not commenced as yet as buyers are still studying reports of Maruti Suzuki’s Celerio. The hatchback which has been fitted with same mechanism and has been launched for first time in India and old timers are still cautious of new technology. Mahindra hopes to recreate history like it did with Scorpio and Bolero therefore is taking cautious steps forward with new technology to launch error free vehicles into the markets. Mahindra will also export a sizeable number of its products to overseas markets which may not be technology savvy to handle this mechanism therefore will need to train them about its usefulness.