A while back, Motoring Weekly wrote an article about Pininfarina, the storied Italian design house, being bought by Mahindra and Mahindra from India. Pininfarina had been working with them for a while before the acquisition.
Now Mahindra have launched a new vehicle in their home market that has been designed and engineered by a truly global team. The Marazzo is a people mover to be sold alongside existing families of saloons, SUVs and pick-up trucks. It is powered by a 1.5 litre diesel motor delivering 120hp.
The design was completed by Pininfarina in Italy and in-house designers in India with a brief that the vehicle had to be for “pa and pals” such that a family could get in with all their stuff and go on outings or to sports events etc – the types of things that Americans would do but Indian families might not yet be accustomed to. Mahindra is positioning itself as the brand for “freedom and adventure” in India and it wanted to have a brand look and feel with European influences.
For ease of construction, a body on frame structure was developed and with a dead rear axle, it enabled space to be maximised in the shell. The engineering was done by a new team in Detroit at the Mahindra North America Technical Centre and also with local engineers in India. This allowed the company to start using some of the brains they had gathered at their new facility in the US. They took the design from Pininfarina and made it function well within an engineering and manufacturing sphere. What looks great on paper may not translate well into the real world and so the teams needed to collaborate to ensure that what was designed could be built!
Mahindra have used the global design and engineering collaboration in their marketing. Clearly, they felt that this was a big message that they were collaborating with European and US teams and learning from them. They said that the vehicle had cost them around $200M to develop and they will sell for $11,000 each, so the company will need to shift at least 20,000 before recovering their costs, however with the improving economic situation in India, that should be quite easy – provided they have built a vehicle that the people want!