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The Sunday Column looks at the Thar book edition, and how print makes the 4wd Indian SUV look solid and secure

03 Jan 2021 | By Noel D'Cunha

There are two stunning photographs in the  Mahindra Thar book. Photo one is a top shot of the Thar which shows off the car interiors. It subliminally suggests that the car is available in both soft and hardtop variants. Then there is the Thar Tail Light Image on the back cover. As Amit Jha, national head for sales at Autocar India, says, "The brief was simple. To be able to impress the car enthusiasts, the automobile historians and brand custodians in equal measures." 

The 20-page Mahindra Thar book was part of Autocar India twenty-first anniversary in India. The Autocar India Anniversary editions have always been made of sterner stuff. An average of 400+ printed pages. The Autocar India September 2021 edition was expected to be no different, not until the PM announced a nationwide lockdown on live TV - and gave the nation four hours to prepare for it.

To begin at the beginning

Let's flashback.

25 March 2020.


End of lockdown.

Restrictions slowly being relaxed. 

1 June 2020.

It was time to brainstorm about the Autocar India Anniversary Issue.

It was also the time for Mahindra to announce the launch of its newest Thar edition, a 4x4 wheel, which Mahindra described as – the timeless silhouette, redefined. The all-new off-roader promised to do a whole lot more than just mud-plug.

The sales team lead by Amit Jha started work on the concept of a special Mahindra Thar print edition with his team, from his cabin on the fifth floor, one of the two floors from which the Haymarket SAC team operates. “The iconic Thar has been the flag-bearer of the rich Indian automotive legacy since 2010,” says Jha.

The all-new Thar was a sort of rebirth of the iconic vehicle, a second-generation Mahindra Thar, and deserved a celebratory presence in the Autocar India magazine. “The most befitting way to present this was in the form of a book that was high on quality and rich in content,” says Jha.

And thus began the story of the 20-page Mahindra Thar print production.

The print plan
The 20-page plus four-page cover book had to be of the same size as the Autocar India magazine – 8.5x10.75-inches. The four cover pages were printed on 210gsm Bilt gloss art card while the inside 16 pages deployed 130 gsm Bilt gloss art paper.

Ascertaining the paper grammage was a bit difficult as the production team wanted to strike the right balance between good quality, ease of content consumption, production as well as logistics. “The packaging of the book with a thick magazine (Autocar India) had to be sent to the stands and our subscribers,” says Jha.

The challenge with the project was adhering to the timelines. The book – from concept to design to content development and production – was to be completed in less than four weeks. Mind you, these were four pandemic weeks. The marketing team swung into action and in consultation with the content strategy team, embarked on the project.

The print production head Prasad Gangurde confabulated with the Kala Jyothi plant in Kondapur. The timelines were discussed. The etch specs were thrashed out. D-Day was scheduled.

The challenge, the result
However, there was some more planning to be done, besides printing. The content comprised information on the Thar, but also photos which could capture the different aspects of the new Thar. Ruman Devmane, assistant editor, creative strategy at Autocar India, explains, “Planning the shoot over a limited time frame and capturing the distinct aspects of Thar was a bit tricky.”

The excitement never ceases when one is driving an offroader. And it was no different with the team photographing the Thar. “It was hard to keep the car clean for the photoshoot as everyone wanted to keep driving the Thar. The Autocar India photographers did a stupendous job, capturing the versatility of the car, which was finally depicted pictorially,” says Ruman.

The artwork was designed by Team Autocar India, and Kala Jyothi in Hyderabad printed the Thar book. The cover pages were printed on the Mitsubishi D 3000LS six-colour sheetfed press using Huber inks and finished with online silk varnish. The outer cover was UV coated. For the inside pages, the Komori 38 S web-offset press was pressed into production. Centre-pinned, Huber heatset inks were used.

The Mahindra Thar book was well received by the Autocar India readers. “We received some great reader reactions ranging from, good, easy and informative read to nostalgia and one which struck the aspirations chords,” says Jha.

In the meantime, the second-generation Mahindra Thar, which was introduced by Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) on 2 October, has breached the 20,000-units bookings milestone within a month of launch and pushed M&M to ramp up production by 50%. Clearly, the SUV with a head-turning design is showing no signs of slowing down.   

Picture Gallery: A glimpse of what’s in the Mahindra Thar book