Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has confirmed that it will be launching the all-new G4 Ssangyong Rexton in the Indian market in the second half of 2018.
At the global unveil of the all-new Rexton at the Seoul motor show in April, the carmaker announced it was seriously evaluating the feasibility of the new Rexton in India from a cost perspective. “We need to understand what the price positioning of the Rexton is and whether can afford to bring it at that price,” Pawan Goenka, managing director of M&M told Autocar India at the show. “If it is feasible then it should take us around a year to launch it in India,” he added.
However, on the sidelines of the Frankfurt motor show this week, the company’s president of R&D and Global Product Development (Automotive Sector), Rajan Wadhera confirmed that the Rexton has got the green light for launch in India. “The costs are still a challenge, but we have decided to launch the Rexton as we believe there is a good opportunity for this product in the Indian market.”
The Rexton will be locally assembled in India to avoid the high customs levied on completely built-up (CBU) or imported cars. “We plan to weld the body in-house and then paint it as well,” added Wadhera. However, the level of local content will be low with large aggregates like the powertrain and body panels imported from Korean suppliers.
The SUV is a massive 4.8m long and is built on Ssangyong’ latest body-on-frame chassis. It is powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine which delivers a modest 187hp and 420Nm of torque. It will compete directly with the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour in India, but to stand a fighting chance against its rivals, Mahindra is likely to play the value card by loading the Rexton with generous equipment and pricing it very aggressively.
There is obviously no word on pricing but Goenka hinted that he would be aiming to undercut the Fortuner by around Rs. 3-4 lakh. However, the bigger question that remains unanswered is whether the Rexton will be badged a Ssangyong or a Mahindra. “The decision on the badging is yet to be taken,” Wadhera said, but he did indicate the Rexton would most likely wear a Mahindra badge as Ssangyong is still an unknown brand that would require too much effort and resources to build.
So will the Rexton be the Mahindra XUV700? Or will it be the TUV700? We will have to wait closer to the launch to find out.