If you think Mahindra & Mahindra has
been outsmarted by the new entrants in the compact SUV segment in the country,
then think again. The country’s leading player in utility vehicles is planning
some mega surprises in the coming times.
In 2015 the company will be introducing
three new platforms. Of this two will be in the personal vehicle space and one would
be in the commercial vehicle space. “These three products are coming up very
well,” said Pravin Shah, Chief Executive-Automotive Division & International
Operations –AFS & Member of Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra.
In a candid interview with Motown India
recently, Shah said that the compact SUV segment in the country came into play
only two years back. “Before that it did not exist and we have products lined
up in that space. Mahindra has the DNA to make true blooded SUVs. Keeping that
DNA of Mahindra in mind we will come up with a compact vehicle which will have
its own local standing, have its own segment and surely will find its own place
in that segment,” he affirmed.
Shah pointed out that the company lost a
single digit volume due to competition interest rates and other such factors. He
noted that when the company brought out the Quanto, a compact SUV, the market
saw a rush of new vehicles in that segment and as a result the Quanto was
unable to carve a share for itself in the segment.
“There came new products and they came at a
price for which I don’t know how long they were able to sustain themselves as we
have witnessed over a short period of time prices have gone up. Unfortunately
the Quanto was not on the new platform it was so to say a variant which got created
to cater to the market quickly,” he said.
MAHINDRA’S SUCCESSFUL PRODUCT
About the Scorpio, Shah noted that it faced
a lot of competition from several products but then at the end of the road,
their volumes dropped to lower than the Scorpio level. “What the Scorpio has to
offer in terms of overall package, in terms of the look and style, the driving
experience, the go anywhere attitude and its capabilities, it’s a lot. To add
to that it has become a status symbol to the people who really want true SUVs
and can’t afford the other prices. This vehicle meets the aspirations of people
and is easy on the pocket. It has many first technologies like the first
talking car, the microHybrid technology, the CRDe engine, the most refined
mHawk technology and apart from that it provides seating options of 6-7-8 as
compared to other products which can hardly seat five. Those vehicles can only
travel on city roads whereas this product can take you anywhere. The look and
feel is such that it can give you a very good driving position. When you sit on
the driver’s side you feel like you are the king of the road where as in other
products it looks like you are sinking. The Scorpio has its own characteristics
apart from that it has the required safety, power and style,” said Shah.
On the export front too, the Scorpio is
doing well. Mahindra has sold cumulatively more than 74,000 vehicles on the
Scorpio platform. The Scorpio platform went to the export market only two years
after it was launched. The vehicles were exported to European nations, to South
and Central America, the 20 plus African market, Malaysia and even in Australia
and New Zealand. “The product even in the current form and shape has its own
value proposition and prospect. Regarding the new technology which we have fitted
into this product, we will see how much of it can be adapted in the export
markets. The technology which we put in is generally at 1/10th of the price and
that’s where we don’t lose the value proposition and at the same time delight
the customer. In a true sense it becomes a true value for money,” Shah added.
The recently launched new Scorpio platform has
been used by Mahindra to demonstrate and house all future technologies and
that’s why, Shah said, “We call it the New Generation Scorpio which has all the
futuristic technology in terms of electronics, ride and handling, the engine
and gear box which have been refined in terms of providing better value for
Shah also concluded that the there is a
huge potential for growth in the Indian passenger car industry. “The number of
cars per thousand is so small in India and the way the Indian economy is
changing, developing and turning for better with the disposable incomes going
up and the infrastructure improving and peoples affordability increasing, the
auto industry has a room to grow much faster,” he said.
“I strongly believe that the traditional
segments will disappear and basically people would define their needs. Each
family has a different need while some families have a basic need of commuting,
some families have a need to go for touring and adventure commuting according
to their lifestyle. So with these changing dynamics the needs of customers are
changing and the evolution of different product offerings in the market place
is a combination of what auto companies can offer as you see it. Most of the
global brands try and bring their products from the other markets. They don’t
get developed specifically for India but a brand like Mahindra which is a home
grown brand understands the customers much better and understands their needs
and demands. We try and come up with a product segment which will meet the
unmet demands of the customer and the wishes of the customer. We try and put
technology or comfort or basic requirements which are new to the market. The
products which are developed for other markets and come to India will surely be
far from meeting these expectations of the customer and will bring only two
things – prices to start with and provide some form of brand value. Other than
that, once the initial euphoria is over, they have difficulty with their
volumes,” signed off Shah.
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