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The new PUV on the road may catch the imagination of Indian businessmen

Partho Burman| New Delhi 05 Oct 2015, Vol 6 Issue 40

Is it a family car? A pickup truck? A generator that can light up your house or work your drills during a power cut? Or an imaginative, multifaceted all-in-one? Indeed, Multix is an aptly named and innovative multi-purpose vehicle for many reasons and all seasons. 

Ganesh Narayan Choudhary of Jaipur, Rajasthan, who is in farming business, is likely to be a happy man on the road, according to Eicher Polaris Pvt. Ltd. 

Radhesh C Verma, Chief Executive Officer, Eicher Polaris Private Ltd with Multix - India's First Personal Utility Vehicle at the Bihar launch

That’s because he is the first owner of their Multix MX. After all, it was precisely for people like him that the Multix MX was created.

Innovation is the new mother of necessity, and it has recently given birth to a novel four-wheeled product created specifically with the independent businessperson in mind.

India is home to around 5.8 billion such businessmen, and it is they who were the subjects of a study by Eicher Polaris.

“For the last three years we have been inspired by independent businessmen and their needs,” says Radhesh C. Verma, Chief Executive Officer, Eicher Polaris.

These businesspersons could range from shopkeepers, restaurant owners and farmers to processing unit owners and building material contractors; they could be running small hospitals or could be into trading, service providing, catering or manufacturing, among others.

Eicher’s research disclosed that these ambitious entrepreneurs in the non-metro cities want to get ahead and stay ahead, and there are no sharp lines dividing their home and work lives.

It was found that this category of people mostly own two-wheelers, but often end up hiring four-wheelers – once a week, or three times a week, and in some cases every day.

But why hire, when you could buy one of the many vehicles in the market?

It is their responses that set the parameters for Multix: They said that the vehicles available in the market didn’t meet their needs.

They were not looking for a swanky, high-speed or plush luxury vehicle; rather they wanted a dual-purpose vehicle that works for both family and business.

Ergo, Multix MX, India’s first Personal Utility Vehicle or PUV.

Multix MX comes in four colours - red, yellow, white, and silver

Multix checks not only those boxes, but many more.

Start ticking off the points.

According to Eicher Polaris, the Multix provides enough cabin space for a family of five – with luggage! – to be comfortably seated. The rear seat can be folded up to create ample space… for an ailing elder, or a couple of kids who want to travel lying down on, yes, even a mattress.

“Multix is equipped with X-port – a unique power take-up point, which can generate up to three kilowatts to power both electrical and mechanical equipment,” Verma says, revealing their trump card.

“It can be used as a power source to light your house, run a DJ system, drilling machines, water pumps, agricultural machinery or a compressor.”

To try to provide the passengers a smooth ride on possibly bumpy non-metro roads, the vehicle is fitted with Proride, a first-of-its-kind independent suspension system, and has a best ground clearance of 225 millimetres.

And because the mileage is a significant game changer, the Multix, Verma says, has been designed to give a mileage of 28.45 kilometre per litre and can accelerate up to 55 kmph as its top speed.

Besides, the company followed a rigorous three-year-long testing schedule to give the Multix its tubular frame structure and Roll-Over-Protection-System (ROPS) that provides structural stability and reinforced safety, and the Flexituff body for durability.

Powered by diesel, it is an eco-friendly vehicle that meets all the emission norms as required in the M1 classification of vehicles.

Although it is not a load carrier in terms of space, this five-seater can be converted into a nine-seater as it has a storage space of 1,918 litres.

It comes in a choice of four colours (Rich Red, Bright Yellow, Pure White, Soft Silver), starting at an ex-factory value-for-money price of Rs 232,850. 

The company has capacity to produce 60,000 vehicles per annum

That’s for the Multix MX. The more trade-oriented variant is the Multix AX+, with open doorways and much more carrier space.

All this was made possible by a strategic equal joint venture agreement signed in July 2012 between Eicher Motors Limited and US-based Polaris Industries Inc, to form Eicher Polaris Pvt. Ltd., to enter a new personal vehicle segment that caters to India and other emerging markets.

Eicher Motors Limited, the flagship company of the Eicher Group, historically famous for manufacturing India’s first agricultural tractor in 1959, is a major force in the Indian automotive industry – notably with the premium Royal Enfield motorcycle.

Polaris Industries Inc., a leader in the powersports industry, designs, manufactures and sells top-end, off-road consumer and military vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and on-road electric/hybrid powered vehicles.

An investment of Rs 350 crore was targeted at doing something innovative, creating something new and meeting the larger needs of the non-metro segment of India.

And it is the non-metro town that is the sweet spot for Multix MX. “We are starting distribution at 30 locations now, which include a few clusters in the country,” Verma shares.

“Rajasthan is our most important cluster because it has our factory in Kukas.” Other clusters are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

In terms of towns, they are also looking at Coimbatore, Patna, Kota, Nagpur, Jaipur, Nasik, Aurangabad and Faizabad, across the length and breadth of the country.

“The markets will be national within 24 months’ time,” Verma adds. And they have the installation capacity to underpin that for sure – 60,000 units of Multix per annum and the production can be extended to double that – up to 120,000 units. Besides, every dealership has a service centre for Multix.

So if you happen to meet Ganesh Narayan Choudhary on the road at the wheel of his Multix MX, and he is smiling, you might know why.  

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