M&M to launch 'global SUV' XUV500 by December

India's leading utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra, on Friday announced that it would launch the new XUV500, labeled a 'global SUV' in India by December.

The company, which sells SUVs such as Bolero, Xylo and Scorpio, will position the new vehicle above its Scorpio, aiming to create a new SUV segment. The XUV500 will compete with the likes of Honda CRV, Skoda Yeti, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Tata Motors' Aria in the Indian market.

''We created a new segment with the Scorpio. There is a wide price gap between the Rs10-11 lakh and the Rs20 lakh range in the SUV segment. With XUV500, we believe a new segment can be created,'' said Vivek Nayer, senior vice-president marketing, automotive sector, at M&M.

However, the company did not reveal the actual price at which the new SUV would be launched.

Rajesh Jejukar, chief executive of M&M's automotive division, said in an interview later that the company is planning to launch the car in South Africa simultaneously with the Indian launch. It is also being aimed at South America, Europe, Australia and South-East Asia in subsequent phases.

The market for SUVs priced below the Scorpio is around 3 lakh units annually. The company offers the Bolero, Xylo, Safari and Innova models in this range. The market size for SUVs which are above Rs20 lakh, like the Scorpio, is just about 25,000 units.