Despite being Tata Motors’ prime offerings in the passenger vehicle domain, boasting advanced features and engineering, the flagship SUVs – Harrier and Safari – have struggled to outsell the segment-leading Mahindra XUV700. The most recent sales report from October 2023 further widened the gap between the Harrier-Safari duo and the XUV700 by a substantial margin. Tata Motors has sold 18,947 units of the Safari and Harrier put together over the past 6 months between May and October 2023. In the same period, the Mahindra XUV700 has sold a whopping 41176, which is more than double the number that the Safari-Harrier twins have managed.
However, September marked the transition period for both the Harrier and Safari as they moved toward their heavily updated versions. Consequently, their sales figures for the pre-facelift versions declined in that month. While optimism surrounds the performance of the new versions against the XUV700 in the upcoming months, the XUV700 managed to surpass monthly sales figures of Harrier and Safari combined by more than 50% until now.
Several factors contribute to the XUV700’s preference over the Harrier and Safari among buyers in their price range:
Lack of a petrol version for Tata Harrier and Safari
The Tata Harrier and Safari, even in their recent heavily-updated versions, offer only the 2.0-litre 170 PS four-cylinder diesel engine, limiting appeal among those seeking petrol options, given concerns about diesel engines for passenger vehicles in the near future. In contrast, the Mahindra XUV700 provides both a 2.0-litre 200 PS turbocharged petrol engine and a 2.2-litre 185 PS diesel engine, offering more choices for potential buyers, especially in urban areas where petrol variants are favored.
Earlier versions of Tata Harrier and Safari lacked in comfort, convenience, and safety features compared to the XUV700. However, the updated Harrier and Safari now offer a plethora of features, potentially surpassing those available in the XUV700. Future sales performance will ascertain if these new Tata SUVs can compete in this aspect.
All-wheel drive option
The updated Tata Harrier and Safari missed offering an all-wheel drive, while the Mahindra XUV700 provides an all-wheel drive option in its top AXL diesel-automatic variant. This gives the XUV700 an advantage among SUV enthusiasts seeking rugged off-road capabilities.
Post-updates, both the Harrier and Safari have seen significant price hikes. The XUV700 has the lowest starting price among the three SUVs and even offers a cheaper top-spec diesel-automatic front-wheel drive variant compared to the Harrier and Safari. While the XUV700 misses a few features, it represents a more economical choice over the Harrier and Safari. The price of base variant Mahindra XUV700 starts at Rs 14.03 lakh, ex-showroom while the price of Tata Harrier starts at Rs 15.49 lakh and the Tata Safari’s most affordable variant is priced at Rs 16.19 lakh. Mahindra is able to price the XUV700 lower because of the petrol engine option.
Tata’s reported after-sales service and quality concerns
Past internet reports have highlighted Tata Motors’ quality check and after-sales service issues, impacting the sales of Harrier and Safari and giving the XUV700 a slight advantage. While Tata’s new-gen vehicles promise enhanced quality and modern appeal, potential buyers await to see if these past concerns will resurface with the updated offerings.