Mahindra Verito Vibe is a sporty sedan; not a hatchback

A T Subrahmanya | Interviews | June 8, 2013
Mahindra Verito Vibe is a sporty sedan; not a hatchback

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd has unveiled the sub 4 metre compact car Verito Vibe based on the Verito platform. Designed and developed in-house, this car marks Mahindra’s entry into the high volume compact car market. Initially identified as a hatchback, Mahindra officials claim that they have created a new category with the Vibe called “sporty sedan” in India’s car market.

This could just be an effort to thwart any attempt to slot the car for taxi/commercial fleets, which the Verito brand has been associated. It still needs to be seen how this diesel powered compact car fits the sporty sedan billing. The Verito Vibe comes with the wheelbase of 2630 mm same as the Verito sedan and is also 3991mm long and churns out 65 PS at 4000 rpm and torque of 160 nm at 2000 rpm. The price starts at Rs 5.63 lakhs ex-showroom Mumbai. Wheelsunplugged caught up with Vijay Nakra, Vice President, sales, M&M Ltd at the Bangalore launch to talk about Verito Vibe and more.

Edited excerpts:

Q: You have stated that Mahindra Verito Vibe is not a hatchback and is competing against Maruti’s Swift, Toyota Liva and also Maruti Dzire and Honda Amaze. So what and who is your target segment and audience?

A: Let’s put it this way. There are two parts to this. We are trying to create new category which is sports sedan segment. Today, if we look at it from the consumer point of view, he has an option of uying either hatchback or sedan. After hearing the insights from the consumers who belong to hatch or sedan segment, sort of issues they face, we felt that there is a clear opportunity for a three box platform that we have already have and we can create a product which will allow us to straddle both the segments. Hence the Verito Vibe, which will a create new category; sports sedan category and based on the value proportions that we have to offer, features like sporty style, boost space and at the price point we are offering, we believe, we will be able to create new segment which will pull consumers from both hatchback and sedan segments.

Q: Is there any other car that you are developing that you will come with on the same platform?

A: That will be a little difficult for me to answer. As far as the Verito platform is concerned, we have certain agreements with Renault and as M&M top officials have stated, at the moment we are looking at one more variant to come out from this platform.

Q: Considering that you are planning to compete against powerful machines, do you think 1.5 dCi engine on Verito Vibe is well equipped?

A: As far as diesel is concerned, the 1.5 dCi diesel engine with the power and torque it churns out, it is adequately powered. So compared to other diesel engine powered cars, it is either equal or better. And we also have robust engine strategy on which we are working on and it will cover various capacities and injection systems.

Q: Are you coming up with electric version?

 A: Yes, we are definitely looking at electric version on the Verito platform.

Q: What are your sales projections for Verito and Verito Vibe?

A: We normally don’t talk about sales numbers. If you look at our production capacity, we have a capacity to make 35,000 units per annum on Verito platform. Depending on how the demand shapes up, we have the flexibility and production capacity between Verito and Verito Vibe and we also have  capability to quickly rampthe production.

Q: Can give us Verito sedan market share numbers?

A: Our market share is about 6% in the compact car segment.

Q: Recently, Mahindra, which is a leader in the UV segment, had stated that there will be some decline in sales this year. Since there are launches happening in the same space and increasing competition, how do you see the future?

A:  Let me put it this way. If you look at the first three months of the year or two months of the year, we have outperformed the category and also competition. But holding on to that market share of 48% where the competition is getting aggressive obviously is going to be a challenge. Where that market share will decline we can’t say but from M&M’s perspective in the UV and SUV space, be it product  strategy or market strategy, we are going to do everything to protect our market share.

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