It is seldom that a car
manufacturer talks about love at the launch of a vehicle. But for Anand
Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra, it was a different love story all
together at the launch of the TUV300 sport utility vehicle (SUV) at the
company’s Chakan plant in Pune in Maharashtra.
“Am I in love? I drove
this vehicle yesterday and I am so glad that my wife is not here. In front of
all of you I can say that I have fallen in love with something else, apart from
my wife,” he said while delivering an emotional yet eloquent speech before a
sea of journalists.
In his address, Mahindra
talked about the passion and energy of his team when it came to making the
“Last night when I came
here to Chakan and Pawan (Dr Pawan Goenka) and the team brought me in for the
first look at the preparations at the car and allowed me to do a test drive,
the most important was meeting the teams behind it. There is sheer energy in
their passions, their excitement and very few things match up to it. Passion
and excitement are like something soft and fuzzy things. But to me they are a
competitive advantage in every business and particularly in this business. That
is the only thing I am going to make here”.
Elaborating further, he
stressed on the importance of passion and commitment in the auto business. “Why
is passion, why is commitment, why is energy so important to a business today,
particularly to the auto business? If you ask anyone what is the potentially
biggest threat to the automobile industry and that answer in my opinion is
threat that comes from the age of access. Not the age of excess, but the age of
access. We live in a world where the Olas and the Ubers of the world are saying
to you there is no need to own a car because transportation is a commodity,
going from point A to B. We will give you that commodity when you want it. I
have no doubt that it is going to affect the world, affect the volumes, the
sales in the auto industry. Young people in particular really rarely need to
own anything. We are in the business of selling things that people really want
to own. Why will anyone buy a car? My
only answer is people of going to buy things that they are going to love. People
are going to buy things they fall in love with”, he said.
Then as Mahindra spoke, he
said he was almost sounding like “some flower child from the sixties with this
talk of love”. But then he whipped the love strategy so well for the audience
that it made sense, every bit of it. “Love is strategy. Love is going to have
to be strategy for everyone. To make things people love. So why was my visit
here important? Why was the passion and energy of the team important? First of
all if you do not get passionate people, if you do not get people who are
committed, if you do not get people who
love what they do every day, you are not going to create anything other people
will love. Your team first and foremost has to love what it does,” he said.
“I was delighted and
optimistic and hats off to Pawan and team for building a culture of such
commitment and passion,” he added.
The love potion poured out
further from the industry leader when he stated, “That leaves us with why would
other people want to love anything. There is no prescription for this. I am
only sharing my point of view. What is
it that I love? I love things and people above all that are authentic.
Authenticity is an interesting concept. To me authentic is something or someone
who is true to his or her heritage, who know what they are, who know that I
cannot pretend to be someone else. I am a mix of my lineage, my heritage, my
aspirations and I am what I am. I love
things that are beautiful without boasting about it. I love things which are
stylish without shouting about it. I love things that keep me safe and that
care for me and that look after me. And
I care for things that show me the world as I have never seen it before, show
me new things, and show me new experiences. Those are the kinds of people and
things that I love. Will the TUV300 make you love it? I know it will.”
The love story that
started with the passion and energy of his people, ended with the TUV300 and
why people would love it. “Because the TUV is authentic. Its timing is
authentic. It comes out of legacy, it comes out of heritage and it also comes out of modern styling cues,
it comes out of aspirations and it comes out of personality and character. It
is stylish without shouting, very clean lines, very elegant, silhouette, once
again it is not saying here look at me, you look at it without shouting. It is
beautiful and it does not boast about it,” Mahindra told journalists as they
got their big lesson on love for the first time in their professional careers!
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