Mahindra has launched the long-awaited automatic version of the XUV500 SUV in Auckland, with high hopes the addition of an automatic gearbox for the first time will improve the brand's appeal to urban Kiwi buyers.
Mahindra last year sold around 200 vehicles excluding its wide tractor and farm vehicle range, and hope to double sales with the introduction of the XUV500 automatic.
"We're targeting 200 XUV500 sales which we think we can definitely achieve," said Mahindra New Zealand marketing manager Steve Vermeulen.
Priced from $36,990 for the front-wheel-drive model, and $39,990 for the AWD, the XUV500 offers a strong value for money proposition for first time new car buyers.
"The first shipment of FWD XUV automatics has already sold out," said Vermeulen, proving the brand is on to a good thing with their automatic offering.
Well equipped with standard features including seven leather seats, a seven inch touchscreen infotainment system with build in satellite navigation, and a clever reversing camera with a distance to object readout, Mahindra are positioning the XUV500 as a competitor against the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe and Holden Captiva 7.
Powering the XUV is the same 2.2-litre diesel found across the range producing 104kW and 330Nm of torque. While down on power compared to competitors the engine makes up for this with an excellent potential fuel range of 946 km.
"It's not a cheap product, its a value for money product" said Mahindara President and Chief Executive, Pravin Shah (above), who is currently visiting New Zealand from India.
"We want to establish the [Mahindra] brand and win the hears and minds of consumers" said Shah.
The XUV500 automatic definitely appears to be the brands best opportunity for growing their presence in the New Zealand market this year following strong sales from the rural sector.