Utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) will enter the multi-utility vehicle (MUV) segment in the first week of September, with the launch of the Marazzo, senior executives at the automaker, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

The 7-seater Marazzo, which is based on an all-new platform, will be Mahindra’s longest and widest car to date. Banking on this launch during India’s festive season (a period considered auspicious to purchase consumer durables) in a segment that clocks about 12,000 units per month, the maker of the Scorpio aims to arrest the fall in market share it has witnessed in the domestic market over the past few years.

The Marazzo, along with two other Mahindra cars to be launched this year, will give the automaker enough volume to augment market share going forward, said managing director Pawan Goenka. It would be exported to right-hand drive markets such as Sri Lanka and South Africa as they present an opportunity to introduce new products with higher volumes, he added.

Though India has one of the highest shares of SUVs to passenger cars in the world at about 29%, Mahindra is riding the larger SUV wave because the segment has taken the fancy of the people, Goenka said.

Earlier codenamed S321, the Marazzo has combined designed cues from Italian design firm Pininfarina SpA, which Mahindra bought in 2015, and Mahindra’s Mumbai-based design studio. Going forward, Pininfarina will continue to contribute to Mahindra’s product design by creating “one full concept" for each product, said Rajan Wadhera, president of the automotive division at the firm.

Based on a newly developed platform, which entailed an investment of 800 to 2000 crore, the Marazzo is claimed to be lighter than most other vehicles Mahindra has made owing to the high use of aluminum. Other vehicles to be built on this platform, which could have different powertrains and body styles, will also be lighter as part of a strategy to meet future regulatory requirements such as the Bharat Stage VI emission norms and the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) norms.

“A platform is typically designed for a decade, spawning multiple body styles and powertrains. We will use this platform to produce either premium luxury cars or small commercial vehicles," Goenka said, citing the advantages of modular platforms as product life cycles in the Indian car market grow shorter and investments rise to comply with regulatory norms.

“It is becoming more and more challenging for Indian automakers to launch products profitably," he said.

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