20121124

Mahindra Alfa auto-rickshaw spotted testing; Is this the CNG variant?

The arrival of Tata Ace and its associated variants reduced the once-flourishing three-wheeler market into an also-ran, with volumes getting so meager that we thought manufacturers would be looking to exit the segment for greener pastures. Mahindra, which has a product called Alfa competing in that segment with both Goods and Passenger variants, was also expected to pull out of that segment gradually. With the success of four-wheelers Maxximo and Gio, the end of Alfa was imminent. Or so we thought.


But, Mahindra has other plans. They are not only going to continue selling the Alfa in the existing Goods and Passenger forms, but are also trying to expand the range and grow it further it seems. This Alfa auto-rickshaw was caught testing in an arterial road in Chennai yesterday. Though it could have easily passed off as just another auto-rickshaw with looks that are remarkably similar to the Piaggio Ape, the current market leader in three-wheelers and the prime competitor of Alfa, the test registration plates and the ‘On Test’ sticker clinched that there is something new brewing up in there.


Though we couldn't figure out what is new in this Alfa compared to the model that is currently on sale, we could speculate where Mahindra is heading to with this. While the Alfa goods carrier is available in both diesel and CNG variants, the Alfa people-mover is only available with a diesel engine that produces all of 8 hp of power. With auto-rickshaws in most Indian cities opting for CNG these days for the dual benefits of lower running costs and lesser emissions, it is imperative that Mahindra Alfa comes with a CNG variant as well to tap the market.


Is that what Mahindra is working on? It could be, despite the absence of CNG stickers and the customary green paint job synonymous with CNG vehicles, in this test vehicle. More details, if any, about this Alfa are welcome.

4 comments:

  1. Did you take these pics? Well really, nothing goes past your eye!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it was shot yesterday morning. Its our interest in automobiles that acts as prying eyes in finding out new vehicles on road.

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  2. Man when will auto-rickshaws be replaced

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time isn't far off, the Bajaj RE60 will initiate that process very soon.

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