One can recall only large SUVs, bot sedans or hatchbacks, when reminded of Indian car manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra. From the new generation Thar to XUV500, or the Scorpio or Bolero from the past, big, chunky SUVs have formed the core of the Mahindra Group’s passenger vehicle business. And it is now going to be the key focus area as the carmaker aims to revive growth.
After Pawan Goenka stepped down earlier last month, Mahindra has appointed its former CFO Anish Shah as the new Managing Director and CEO. Within a week of taking charge, Shah has quickly laid out his plans to revive growth of the group and pinned the key focus areas in coming days.
The 51-year-old Mahindra MD has his tasks cut out amid falling market share of the Mahindra Group. According to records, Mahindra’s share in the SUV segment has gone down significantly, from 50 per cent to now 13 per cent. This has mostly been possible due to flooding of new players and models in the segment in the last few years.
Shah believes that the group’s growth revival will depend a lot on SUVs, as well as electric vehicles. Shah was particularly betting on Thar SUV, which was launched last year in a new avatar to expand its base in the urban centres too. Shah was quoted by Bloomberg saying, “What we’ve learned is it doesn’t make sense to venture out of our core. A core Mahindra SUV has the ability to be an off-roader while having the elegance to be driven around a city. Mahindra can’t afford to lose focus out of the SUV segment."
Mahindra has recorded an impressive 9 per cent month-on-month growth in March, 2021. The carmaker sold 16,700 units last month compared to 3,383 units sold in March last year, a leap of nearly 400 per cent. Mahindra's SUVs, like Bolero, XUV300 and Thar, have driven most of the volumes it sold last month. Mahindra will also bring in updated versions of the XUV500 and Scorpio SUVs in the next one year or so.
Another key focus area for Shah will be the electric vehicle segment. The company will invest about ₹3000 crore in electric vehicles and launch electric variants of its SUVs soon.
Mahindra already has a few EVs up its sleeve in form of Verito and the e2o Plus hatchback. However, the carmaker has raised the expectation of several EV unveiling at the Auto Expo last year. It promises to drive eKUV100, which was launched at ₹8.25 lakh at the Auto Expo last year. The car has not made it to the dealership yet as its production got delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Mahindra had also showcased the electric version of XUV300, Atom electric minivan, and a concept car called Funster electric which is believed to be the electric version of XUV500.
(With input from agencies)