Interview with Vinod K Sahay, Chief Executive Officer, Mahindra Truck & Bus / Mahindra Construction Equipment Divisions, Mahindra & Mahindra
Will it be ‘fast
& Furio’ for your truck and bus division with the launch of the new
Mahindra Furio truck range?
We surely hope so. We are quite confident it will be so.
Your Blazo trucks are
also doing quite well in the market. Can we have your views on that?
Blazo has done very well. We launched Blazo around two years
ago. We knew we were a challenger brand and we cannot afford to launch a me-too
product, so the whole objective of Blazo was that we were going to launch a
product with which we are going to give guarantees to the customer. Everyone
claims their truck is best in terms of fuel efficiency, in terms of service
parts, but with the Blazo we gave a
guarantee that you get the best mileage
for your truck compared to any other truck in the industry or your fleet.
Otherwise you return our truck. I am very happy to report that after more than
15,000 Blazo trucks on the road, not a single truck has come back. Blazo today
has clearly established itself as the most fuel efficient and fluid efficient
truck in the Indian trucking industry in its class. Backed by its fuel
efficiency guarantee, we also gave service and parts guarantee and as a result
of which Blazo is continuously growing on volume and market share. We have
doubled our market share compared to what it was two years back. From 2.7pc we
have already moved to 5.4pc and gong forward we are hoping to do much better
than what we have done so far.
Before the Furio was
launched, you were missing in the 6.5 tonnes to 16 tonnes segment in the
trucking industry. With the Furio, do you think, things will move FURIOusly
ahead for your company?
Yes, that's the plan. As you know for the entire commercial
vehicle segment, Mahindra is the number two brand and we are a clear No. 1 when
it comes to small commercial vehicles and we are No. 3 when it comes to light
commercial vehicles, we have come to No.4 in heavy commercial vehicles and
aspire to be No.3 very soon. But this range you have rightly said, the 6.2 tonnes
to 16.2 tonnes, we were missing. We did not have this range in Mahindra &
Mahindra. And that's what we were working for in the last four years, to come
up with a platform which we have named Furio rightly so, which is a modular
platform which will have the whole gamut of the range coming in this GVW
portfolio with five engine options which will come in different segments and
different class of vehicles, three transmission types and three cabin types.
With that we address the full range and we hope to have a far higher level of
volume and market share than we currently have in the overall commercial
Do you think this is
a very critical segment in the commercial vehicle industry?
It is a very important segment because with India moving
more towards a clear hub and spoke model, there are three large segments that
are going to emerge. One is of course small commercial vehicle, second is the
heavy commercial vehicles on a GVW of 37 to 49 tonne class, and in between the LCV and ICV range. Already
the industry is at a 1.5 lakh units volume per year which Mahindra has been
missing, and that is why the segment is critical to us, not just that it
completes the whole range, but also gives us additional volumes and additional profits
which we can make out of putting Furio on the platform in this segment where we
are able to sell more and get to a No. 3 position.
The Furio range would
comprise of 21 models with five engine options. Can you elaborate on that?
Overall, this platform from 6.2 tonnes to 16.2 tonnes has 21
products. Each of those products will have multiple wheel bases and multiple
load body types. Of the 21 products, we are going to launch seven in BS 4
version. We have unveiled four today--11, 12, 13 and 14 tonne range.
Progressively we are going to launch 15 tonne and 16 tonne, as well as a 7.5
tonne truck in BS 4 standards. Because the window for BS 4 that is left is very
small, we are directly going to launch 14 models in BS 6 standards. By the time
BS 6 comes in the country in 2020 April to June quarter, we will have the full 21 different products
of this platform playing fully in the
Your company is now a
No.2 player overall in the CV business in the country. Will your company emerge
as a very significant player here with the Furio coming in?
Very briefly can you
tell us about SAIC Motor Corporation? It’s a Chinese company with a legacy of
its own but is it a force to reckon with?
Just to give you a perspective of the company, SAIC sells
almost 70 lakh cars per year and the Indian market is 30 lakhs per year. So
this company is the market leader. They have got various brands and lots of
platforms to choose from. MG brand which the company owns actually is a British
brand with 94 years old history and legacy and it was an iconic brand. MG cars
were exported to the US also in big number and in India also we have more than
300 MG owners. A lot of cars were made on the MG platform.
when SAIC has taken over this British brand they want to take this globally now
and we have already launched in many countries. India is going to be the next
destination and we are going to launch our first car next year in Q2 2019. So
the good part is that SAIC has got huge resources. They are investing in
technology, they are investing in EV cars, they are investing in hybrids and
connectedness, shared mobility. So all this knowledge I think can be
transferred to India at the right time whenever we and our customers need it.
Your company makes a
large number of cars that are also exported out of China, yet in India you are
going to be cautious and bold. The reason being you are launching an SUV first
and a year later an electric vehicle. So it’s cautious and bold. You agree?
There are two things here and very rightly you have said
cautious and bold. We want to lay a good foundation to start with and SUV
C-segment hopefully is the right segment we feel to enter and our focus is to
make sure that we choose good dealers, we have good employees and we can give a
great experience to the Indian consumers. It’s not only the initial buying
experience but also the cost of ownerships, spare parts, resale parts
everything hopefully is as per the Indian consumer expectation. Once we lay the
right foundation, then we start getting into more spaces.
is a very important thing because the government of India has shown the
intention and vision to get into that space because that’s the global trend and
to take care of the environmental issues I think all of us have some
responsibility. So the government of India wants OEMs to take that
responsibility so we are saying okay either we can wait for the infrastructure
to develop or join hands with other stake holders including government to start
this journey and take some leadership.
for us in SAIC, we are leaders globally in this space so why not bring it to
India right now. It’s going to be challenging, it’s not easy, we would have
road blocks, but I think with the right intension with the good help of government
I think we should be able to solve it. So that’s why it’s bold.
You talked about
space, you talked about electric vehicles, the IC engine vehicles but what
about a commercial vehicles because you are also big there with the Maxus
You are right. Luckily, as I said earlier, we have a
plethora of products and platforms and we can bring it to India at the right
time but I think it’s one step at a time. The bigger vision is there, the dream
is there but as they say, you need to be realistic. We need to make sure that
we do a good job in phase 1 wherein we establish a good foundation, people
accept us and people accept our proposition. Once they like our products and
experience, hopefully after that we can get into other products including commercial
You are a man with
great experience, you have worked with some very big names and you have also
been posted abroad with great responsibility. Are you optimistic and cautious
in your approach at MG Motor India?
It’s not going to be easy. To be very honest, I am nervous
you know because it’s not easy to crack our Indian market. We may talk about
theory but execution is tough. So right now I think all of us are on our toes.
We believe in start-up kind of a culture at this point of time. We need to make
sure that we take all kinds of different initiatives, do different things, do
different experimentation but at the same point of time we are able to execute
to consumer expectation.
not going to be easy so we know that. The good news is we know all the issues
as you said experience means we know all the issues, we know how different
manufacturers have done, what we can learn from them, successes and mistakes.
So this is what we are observing and trying to do and it should be an
interesting journey. Opportunity is that we know what can go wrong so we are
trying to get ready and trying to make a final offer which is compelling for
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