Mahindra automobile is one of the leading manufacturers in the Indian automobile industry. Not only do they have a big share in the passenger car segment; but is also one of the leading players in the commercial sector. They have a humongous range in this sector. This includes light commercial vehicles such as the Bolero pickup, heavy trucks and even a wide range of buses. In order to strengthen their position more, in 2015 they launched their 5-8 seater van known as the Mahindra Supro.
What was it?
Mahindra Supro was an attempt by Mahindra to establish its dominance in the one segment of the commercial sector where it wasn’t so relevant i.e. the minivan segment. They launched the Super in October 2015. It was powered by a 909 cc Direct Injection Diesel Engine producing 45 bhp. But power is not the concern here, after all, it’s a minivan we are talking about, not a supercar; and Mahindra sure did know that.
It was a very practical minivan with a spacious cabin, optional AC, a comfortable suspension setup, and overall a great product. The Mahindra minivan came in 3 variants: LX 8 str, VX 8 str and ZX 5 str. It was priced between 4-5.9 lakhs. Fun fact: It even came as an EV in 2016!
With a product so promising and with a renowned badge like Mahindra, you must be sure that it would’ve set the minivan scene on fire! Well not so much. It did do decent numbers in its 4-year run but it wasn’t even as close to the Omni or Eeco. When the new stricter norms came into play, Mahindra decided to scrap their little project the sadly the Supro was discontinued in October 2019 along with the ‘Jeeto’, another offering by the group. Such names much wow!
Why couldn’t beat the Maruti Suzuki Omni
It’s plain logic if you can’t beat your competition you’ll be thrown out as fast as a waiter who spilt soup on Saturday night. For example, when the Tata Aria was launched, it looked like a very promising product. It was pretty advanced for that time, had a promising engine but still couldn’t beat the Innova, so nobody cared. And the same happened with the Supro.
Even though it was a very promising product with a spacious cabin, a heavy-duty engine and a comfortable ride, it couldn’t move the Omni. And this was mainly due to two main reasons.
Firstly the price. Minivans are usually purchased by taxi owners who take kids to schools. They don’t want a comfortable ride or a chilly AC, they just want a practical minivan. The Omni was that and nothing else; and that made it significantly cheaper than the Supro, an almost 3 lakh INR advantage.
Secondly the trust and image. Richard Hammond( one of the greatest automobile journalist ) once said that when people think of a van in the UK, it’s the Ford Transit and nothing else. And it’s the same case in India with the Omni. A product so good it ruled the market for decades, and now is the poster boy for minivans. You can’t just kill that legacy in a few years.
I’m not a huge fan of minivans(I’m sure nobody is) but it does make me sad when a promising product does not come on top. Well, you win some and you lose some. Do you own a Supro? Or have got a ride in one? Tell us your experience in the comments section. Till then this was Mahindra Supro and why it couldn’t beat the Maruti Suzuki Omni.