Mahindra says entering commuter two-wheeler space was a mistake

Anand Mahindra, the chairman of the homegrown auto group Mahindra & Mahindra, on Wednesday admitted that entering the commuter bike segment more than a decade ago was a failure on the part of the group.

| Updated on: 11 Dec 2019, 20:04 PM
Follow us on:
Follow us on:
File photo
File photo

The group entered two-wheelers after buying out Kinetic Motors in July 2008 and relaunched the 'Freedom' bikes under the label of 'Mojo' but has not been able to make a mark in the vastly entry-model driven two-wheeler space in the country even after a decade.

The market is dominated by Hero Motorcorp and Japanese major Honda which together control close to two-thirds of the over 21-million units per annum market.

Of this, Mahindra sold a paltry 4,004 units in FY19, down 73 percent from FY18. The only player in an over a dozen OEM market behind Mahindra is Kawasaki Motor which sold 3,115 units in the year, according to SIAM data.

Also check these Bikes

Find more Bikes
Mahindra Mojo 300 Bs6 (HT Auto photo)
₹ 2 - 2.11 Lakhs* *Ex-showroom price
Add to compare
Check latest offers
Explore your Vehicle
Revolt Motors Rv400 (HT Auto photo)
₹ 1.40 - 1.60 Lakhs* *Ex-showroom price
Add to compare
Check latest offers
Velev Motors Vio (HT Auto photo)
₹52,000**Ex-showroom price
Add to compare
Tork Motors Kratos (HT Auto photo)
₹ 1.22 - 1.68 Lakhs* *Ex-showroom price
Add to compare
Check latest offers
White Carbon Motors O3 (HT Auto photo)
₹55,900**Ex-showroom price
Add to compare
White Carbon Motors Gt5 (HT Auto photo)
₹ 1.15 Lakhs* *Ex-showroom price
Add to compare

In the year to March 2019, according to the SIAM data, the domestic two-wheeler domestic market stood at 21.2 million units, up 4.86 percent from FY18.

Terming failure as "capital", just like financial and human capital, Mahindra said the learning from the commuter bike episode, which was a "product failure" led to the learning and entry into the premium two-wheeler segment where he claimed the group has been successful.

Mahindra said they entered the two-wheeler market with the confidence to "win", on the back of having a strong understanding of the ecosystem, distribution, R&D and also brand positioning.

"We knew our dream well and we had the right things, but how to win is where we went wrong. We should have never gone to the commuter bike side," Mahindra said, speaking at an event organised by British carrier Virgin Atlantic on looking at 'business as an adventure'.

Sharing the stage with the Virgin group founder Richard Brandson, Mahindra said they brought the premium Java brand to the country a year-ago and seemed to suggest that it has been a success, stating that there continues to be a five-month wait for the cult bikes.

He also said they will soon be launching the BSA bikes, which was acquired earlier.

Meanwhile, amid widespread slowdown in the auto sector, Mahindra claimed that "the most optimistic" people in his group today are those in the auto and farm equipment segments, as they expect sunny days to come back from April.

"...the most optimistic people in our group today are our automotive people. They've seen a good close in calendar year and they are hopeful of next year," he said, adding new emission norms from April will be the biggest demand driver for the company.

Similarly, in the farm equipment sector, Mahindra said the reservoir levels are good, winter crop harvest will be bountiful and hence, it expects a pick up in the tractor sales from April.

"Ironically, the two areas (auto and farm) where people think there is doom, but our people are beginning to smile again," he said, adding October sales were good on the back of festive demand.

However, the official numbers shared by the company for November 2019 are different with Mahindra's volumes falling over 9 percent at 41,235 units.

Of this, commercial vehicles sales were down 12 percent at 17,384 units, PV sales fell 10 percent to 14,637 units and farm equipment volume plunged to 20,414 units from 25,159 units in November 2018.

Asked about the economy, where growth has slipped to a six-year low and pessimistic headlines galore, Mahindra advised everyone to have faith in their inner selves.

"Failure is hard to swallow. You have to go inside, and begin investing again. 'dar ke aage jeet hai', beyond the fear lies victory. That is just not a slogan. If we really go inside internally, and we as a nation have a great tradition to understand how to go inside, we find strength," he said.

He declined to answer specific questions on industry doyen Rahul Bajaj's comments on fear among corporate leaders, and also one on his opinion of bankers.

Mahindra said an entrepreneur has to take risks and termed the same as "fun", and that time has come for us to look beyond bottom-lines and into multi-stakeholder capitalism.

First Published Date: 11 Dec 2019, 19:41 PM IST
Shopping Bag Shop Now
73% OFF
IDELLA Car Duster, Extendable Long Handle Microfiber Car Duster Exterior Scratch Free Car Cleaning Tool, Car Dust Brush for Truck, Pickup, SUV, RV, Motorcycle, Vehicles Cleaning,(Multicolor)
Rs. 239 Rs. 899
49% OFF
Antson Portable High Power 2 in 1 Car Vacuum Cleaner | USB Rechargeable Wireless Handheld Car Vacuum Cleaner Traveling, Camping Reusable and Sustainable, Portable,Rechargeable Vacuum (2 in 1)
Rs. 994 Rs. 1,939
74% OFF
Microfiber Car Cleaning Soft Brush Ideal as Mop Duster, Washing Brush with Long Handle, Dust Cleaner Car Wash Brush with Handle, Soft Brush Scratch Free, Cleaning Dashboard Curved Design - Grey
Rs. 389 Rs. 1,499
1% OFF
GOODAIR Clear Car Windshield Enhancer | Classic |12 Tablets
Rs. 295 Rs. 299

Please provide your details to get Personalized Offers on

Choose city
+91 | Choose city
Choose city
Choose city
Powered by: Acko Logo
Please be noted that any information provided herein above will be received by Acko General Insurance Limited (“Acko”). By mentioning the above information, you agree to provide these details and information to Acko.
By clicking "View Offers" you Agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy

Dear Name

Please verify your mobile number.

+91 | Choose city
Couldn't verify the OTP.
It's either expired or it's incorrect.