M&M blazes into Humvee club with Axe
MOINAK MITRA & MEENAKSHI VERMA
TNN[ TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2007 12:20:06 AM]
NEW DELHI: Call it the ultimate car seva. India is all set to get its first high mobility multipurpose-wheeled vehicle or the Humvee, christened Mahindra Axe. Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is the key driver of the homegrown Humvee project, which will *** India’s armyscape shortly, and civilian space down the line. Sources told ET that M&M tested the indigenous Humvee last fortnight at Faridabad.
The Humvee was first built in the 80s by American Motors for defence purposes and a civilian variant, the Hummer, came into being in the 90s. In 1998, the Hummer brand name was sold to General Motors, and while the US auto major markets and sells the brand, the Humvee is still manufactured by American Motors.
There are variants the world over for Humvee like the Greek and Russian Kornet or the Toyota-crafted Megacruiser, but none so far from the subcontinent.
The US Army used the Humvee to the hilt during the Gulf War as it can be used as a light tactical vehicle for command and control, special purpose shelter carriers, and special purpose weapons platforms throughout all areas of the modern-day battlefield. The Humvee was launched as a 150 horsepower (HP) multi-utility vehicle, but sources claimed that M&M has just tested a 300-400 HP engine.
But when ET pressed the company for details of the engine capacity, executives were tight-lipped. “We have designed a vehicle called the Mahindra Axe for the Indian Army as per their specifications. In due course, we will look at homologating it and getting a civilian variant of this high-powered vehicle.
This is an IPR of M&M and even the engine is indigenously developed. Two prototypes have been developed for Army testing,” said Mahindra Defence Systems CEO Khutub A Hai. Sources said that the Axe will have both open and hard-top versions, capable of mounting artillery. The Mahindra Axe has been developed by a team of designers, which includes some from abroad, Mr Hai said. “We have also imported some components from abroad.”
Meanwhile, General Motors has no plans to launch its Hummer in the country. “We have no plans to get the Hummer in India and we are concentrating on developing the Chevrolet brand,” said General Motors India vice-president-marketing & sales Ankush Arora.
Auto analyst Murad Ali Baig, too, confirmed the M&M foray into the semi-amphibian Humvee. “Yes, Mahindra’s plans for a vehicle like the Humvee are on track. I believe they will look at developing a softer variant for civilian purposes. This kind of a vehicle is very heavy, consumes a large amount of fuel and is largely for off-road applications. It will have a very niche market when launched,” he said.
The commercial Hummer vends in American showrooms from $30,000 to $55,000, depending on the variant — roughly between Rs 12 lakh and Rs 22 lakh. For the commercial Axe, expect prices on similar lines. As for the Humvee, the basic model sports a $60,000 tag, which can go up to $1,50,000 for some of the specialty versions. Ho hum? Well, that’s the story so far.
As stated by the article it is not Humwvv 's Indian version but a new car with IPR made by M&M. Army needs around 8000 such vehicles, It will be competing against HumVww in the RFP IIRC, I hope it'll win.