Indian utility vehicle manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra will start exporting its latest entrant in the family sub-4 metre segment, the TUV300, to South Africa and neighbouring countries, a senior company official said during the launch event in Pune.

This second compact Mahindra SUV is built on a new platform developed for INR15bn (US$225m) which included about INR3bn from suppliers. This is the third SUV launch by the company in 2015 so far and six more are expected, ET reported.

But the company’s domestic sales have been in the red for the last few months. Anand Mahindra, group chairman, M&M, said: “We expect the SUV segment to grow. Currently it contributes 23% to overall passenger vehicle sales in the country and will grow up to 30%.”

Mahindra launched the vehicle in India priced between INR690,000 and INR912,000 with only a diesel engine. “We see over 90% of demand in utility vehicles coming from diesel segment. However we are working with Ssangyong to develop a family of petrol engines,” said Pawan Goenka, executive director Mahindra & Mahindra.

The TUV300 is also the first SUV to have an automated manual transmission option in India.