Automaker Mahindra & Mahindra said it has crossed 15,000 bookings for the 2020 version of its Thar SUV in the first 17 days days of sales and that the company is planning to expand the production capacity for the model.
The company had, two weeks ago, announced that it had crossed the 9000 mark within the first four days.
The numbers indicate relatively healthy demand for the vehicle, particularly given the extremely poor sentiment in the market towards discretionary purchases due to the economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sales of discretionary items, including sports utility vehicles, premium motorcycles and real estate, have dipped sharply as people worry about the sustainability of their livelihoods.
“Today 57% of all buyers of the All-New Thar are first time car buyers and a significantly large share of all bookings are for the Automatic variants,” the automaker said in today’s update.
In its earlier update, the company also said it received over 36,000 inquiries translating to a conversion rate of 25% or 9000 bookings. It has now increased to 65,000 enquiries in total. Deliveries will commence on November 1, 2020.
“What is particularly interesting is that there is an acceptance of the All-New Thar amongst a larger base of lifestyle seekers, beyond the traditional lovers of this iconic brand. Given this overwhelming response, we are substantially ramping up our capacity,” said Veejay Nakra who heads the automotive division at Mahindra & Mahindra.
The new Thar, starting at around Rs 10 lakh before RTO levies, is a very important model for the company as it comes at a difficult time for M&M.
The company, which used to dominate the affordable and mid-range SUV category at one point, has seen its market share shrink due to the expanding presence of India’s largest carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, into the category.
Models like the new Ertiga and Brezza have helped Maruti Suzuki emerge as the No.1 UV maker in terms of volumes two years ago.
Since then, the competition has only got tougher, particularly in the upper-mid-range, with the entry of players like Kia and MG.
Mahindra, on the other hand, has been struggling to score a ‘big win’ in the Rs 8-11 lakh category — the mid-range market.
It is banking on the new Thar to help the company appeal to the true SUV/UV fans with its rugged looks and advanced features and technology.
Despite remaining true to the utilitarian and minimalist roots of the model, the Thar 2020 can also be used as a regular family car, according to reviews of the model.