Why I won’t be buying an XUV500

Since its launch in India, I’ve been obsessing over the Mahindra XUV500. I missed the boat on the first lot of bookings and was then stunned to know that bookings had been suspended. Earlier this month, Mahindra re-opened them for 7,200 cars to be delivered across 19 cities. But I’m no longer interested.

Dr Pawan Goenka, President, Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors wrote a rather moving letter to potential customers last week. This actually worked and I was still interested… but over the preceding weekend, I realised that my chances of actually getting one are slim. Moreover, the money we pay Mahindra for the booking will only be refunded after a month (or within, I think) according to the ‘draw’ T&C.

(This whole draw aspect reminds me of the 1980s when people waited months for phone connections or vehicles.)

The trouble is, that according to the numbers, each city would be allocated about 378 vehicles. I am positive that from most cities, there will be at least 1,000 applications each. That itself puts my chances at 38%… 1 in 3. There is no mention of how many vehicles are being allotted per city if in case this is the approach.

The draw that Mahindra will conduct will be centralised. This means that some cities may get more and some less. I live in Pune. Assuming Pune is one of the bigger markets for Mahindra, it may be allotted 500 vehicles with places like Nagpur, Nasik, Coimbatore, Thrissur perhaps getting lower allocations. This may also perhaps be decided on how many applications are received from each city. In the event Pune is allotted 500 vehicles, my chances increase marginally to 50%. Of course, there will be more than 1,000 applications so this number is just for argument’s sake.

What is even worse is that I don’t have money to immediately book another car should I not be a winner of the draw. Which means that the earliest I could book an alternate car is mid-March (draw results are on 15 Feb). And then, at least 2 more months for delivery of any other car.

Instead, I think it’ll be wiser to just book the alternate car (not a bad one, at all) now. The facelifted Innova is better in some respects than the XUV500. And no, it’s not a case of sour grapes!

Was there something else Mahindra could have done? Perhaps not. I admire the approach they have taken and the fact that they are being (or attempting to be) as transparent as this. It just doesn’t work for me. I’ve already spent 4 months waiting for bookings to open. And can’t spend another 2 in case I don’t win. Perhaps a registry of potentials who are interested would help speed up the process next time (I suspect that is what will happen with the unsuccessful applicants).

For now, though, it’s the new Innova for me.

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