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africa|automotive|design|energy|safety|technology

Mahindra unveils new concept Pik Up, says its first electric vehicle will go on sale at end of 2024

1st September 2023

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Indian vehicle manufacturer Mahindra has unveiled a new concept bakkie aimed at international markets, South Africa included.

The new-look vehicle is a significant departure from the Bolero and Mahindra Pik Up models South Africans are familiar with, and appears more aligned with the lifestyle-orientated bakkies that can be found in Japanese, German and American stables.

Mahindra & Mahindra automotive sector president Veejay Nakra says he cannot yet comment on when the vehicle will make its local debut, or whether it will also be sub- assembled locally, as is the case with the Mahindra Pik Up.

“At this stage we’ll not assemble it in Durban, but it is always our aspiration to see if we can leverage that facility.”

Nakra notes that the Global Pik Up – yet to be named – will be added to the existing bakkie portfolio in South Africa, to bring Mahindra’s domestic pick-up portfolio to three.

The diesel-powered, ladder-frame vehicle, with a host of safety and infotainment technology, will slot in as a midsize bakkie, above the smaller Mahindra Pik Up and Bolero workhorse.

Nakra says the vehicle will allow Mahindra to “play in international, mainstream markets”, with the goal to sell it in regions such as Australia, New Zealand, South-East Asia and South America.

However, he emphasises that this ambition will not see the company break faith with the principle of being a “brand that is about value for money”.

South Africa is Mahindra’s largest market outside India. The company is currently active in ten African markets, mostly through distributorships.

Nakra, a former Mahindra South Africa CEO, says the company has a respectable bakkie market share in South Africa, which can still “inch up substantially” with the launch of the new pickup.

In terms of sports-utility vehicles, however, he believes Mahindra to be at the stage of “humble beginnings”, with a need to “seriously” scale up in terms of volume and market share.

Electric Ambitions
When it comes to new-energy vehicles, Mahindra will not develop hybrids, says Nakra, but rather jump straight into battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

Within this segment, the manufacturer opted for lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, which do not require cobalt, nickel or manganese. They are also roughly 15% cheaper than lithium-ion batteries.

Mahindra has unveiled a development programme that will see its first BEV go on sale at the end of next year.

The company will have a dedicated BE electric model range, but will also electrify its Thar, Scorpio, Bolero and XUV ranges.

One of the vehicles destined for South Africa, although the timing is unknown, is the Thar.e, which again signals a radical departure for the company in terms of design, especially as it relates to the internal combustion engine Thar, which is unlikely to return to the local market.

Nakra confirms that Mahindra will bring its BEVs to South Africa, but he says he cannot comment on the timeline.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

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