How Indian SUV brand Mahindra reinvented itself

Hormazd Sorabjee

When Scorpio was launched in 2002, we called it Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) the biggest advancement in 50 years, and it was indeed a new product era for the brand. Since then, the company has transformed from a rural operator to a mainstream operator and has provided a series of popular and lost modern products. But, more importantly, the success of Scorpio gives M&M the confidence to start a series of global acquisitions and alliances, and venture into new areas such as two-wheelers and M&HCV.

But is the company’s booth too thin? Have these new acquisitions distracted its core business? This is a completely different approach taken by the old guard after the baton was handed over to the new leadership. This is the current company’s view. Non-core business is being lost, purely focusing on making Mahindra the best product-a full-scale SUV.

The age of the alliance is over.Ssangyong, a partner with Ford, has lost cash Recently ended suddenly, And Mahindra is confident to act alone. Of course, this is no easy task, especially in an era when even rival automakers are pooling resources to share costs (and risks) to develop new products for the electrified and digital world. However, Mahindra believes that independence will make it faster, more agile, and better able to control its own destiny.

The success of the new Thar marked the re-formation of Mahindra’s form. Mahindra is still sputtering until now, and its product portfolio is not used on all cylinders, which solidifies the company’s new direction. Rajesh Jejurikar, executive director of the automotive and farm divisions, said: “It’s all focused on the DNA of our real SUV.” And this is exactly what the company plans to do. In fact, under the leadership of Dr. Anish Shah, the new general manager and CEO of the Mahindra Group, and the new management of Jejurikar, our commitment is that there is no other way than to focus on SUVs that can create a strong emotional connection.

Electric vehicles (all with SUV body styles) will also play an important role in the company’s future product strategy. About 25% of the total capital expenditure for product development and expansion will be used for electric vehicles.

Wise investment

In the next three years, Mahindra’s total capital allocation for SUVs and tractors will be 90 billion rupees, of which the investment in EVs will be 30 billion rupees. This is significantly lower than the Rs 1,500 crore investment in the previous three years, but investments have already been made in key capital-intensive areas such as powertrain and new electronic (E/E) architectures.

Mahindra is equipped with the latest mStallion gasoline and mHawk diesel engine series. They are packaged and protected to meet future specifications. In the next five years, there is no need to invest in engine technology. Engine capacity ranges from 1.2 to 2.2 liters. Mahindra covers all its future products powered by IC engines.

Infotainment and electronic systems do not require investment. Mahindra has developed its next-generation “Smart Core” system, which will be XUV700 And it will be a huge leap in the currently available technology. The new E/E system developed by Visteon will enable future Mahindras to have the latest infotainment system, 360-degree camera, a series of connectivity functions, and even advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), which may become necessary with the use of cars. Indispensable. The next stage of safety regulations.

Still, money is tight, which is why Mahindra only spends where it thinks it can win.this means Final elimination of bad product lines, Such as Marazzo and KUV100. The idea is that when the investment can be used more effectively in the bread and butter product line and future technology, it does not make sense to waste precious resources chasing difficult market segments (such as MPVs and micro SUVs).

After the failure of the planned joint venture, Mahindra no longer has the luxury of sharing development costs and scale returns with Ford. This means that Mahindra will not be able to use Ford’s B772 platform, which will become the basis for the next-generation XUV500 (S301). The length of S301 is about 4.3 to 4.4 meters, which will be smaller than the XUV500 that will be shipped soon. Positioned as a Creta fighter, But Mahindra will have to find another platform to support this brand new model, which takes time and money. However, the company does not seem to be surprised by this setback and believes that the cost of developing S301 will not exceed Rs 120 crore as it has already completed the investment in the engine and E/E architecture. source.

Human first

However, there are other challenges. For Mahindra, the change in the leadership team has come more difficult. Last year was a particularly difficult year for the company, which was fundamentally due to supply chain and production issues. Mahindra failed to transition to BS6 as smoothly as most other automakers, and was more affected by semiconductor shortages. Due to all these challenges, its sales and market share dropped sharply, and the company had to sit down and observe traditional competitors such as Tata Motors.

However, the new leadership was nothing more than being fired, and no time was wasted to make up for lost ground. A company insider said: “There is a new kind of dynamism, aggressiveness and decisiveness swept across the company, which we have never seen in decades.” In order to get the company out of trouble, Jejurikar’s first task is to build a team. A strong team means further enhancing the capabilities of a few trustworthy existing senior managers and attracting fresh talent. Jejurikar is looking for the best global talents to fill key positions. A company source quipped: “Nowadays, the human resources department is the busiest department in the company.”

Dr. Uli Stuhec has joined the board of directors. He is a veteran of Ford. He is an industry veteran. He was invited to start Mahindra’s Born Electric project. However, the biggest gain is the famous designer Pratap Bose, who left Tata Motors from Mahindra to become the head of Mahindra Automotive Design Europe (MAD​​E), the company’s first ever European design studio.

Design and style have always been Mahindra’s fundamental weaknesses, and the company has been working hard to come up with a cohesive and well-defined design language. Although Mahindra originated from the legendary jeep, the lack of design differences caused FCA to fall into an embarrassing “imitation” legal dispute with Roxor in the United States and until now Thar in Australia.

One of Jejurikar’s first tasks after taking over is to upgrade and enhance the company’s design capabilities to another level, and to give Mahindra a unique identity. In fact, Jejurikar said in an internal statement to the company’s employees: “The company will invest in the design for future use.”

MADE will provide Mahindra with an opportunity to enter the world’s best design talent ecosystem. It is believed that British placement agencies are full of resumes of companies from Jaguar to McLaren who are keen to join the company’s new design studio. In fact, MADE is a masterpiece, Mahindra turned a huge weakness into a huge advantage in one breath.

Fresh, focused model release failed

In the next five years, as many as 12 new Mahindra models are planned, but this is not just a case of carpet bombing in all possible market segments and market segments. This time, the brand will focus more on the high-performance core market segment because it is confident of finding success. Yes, they are all SUVs, but more interestingly, most of them will fall in the price range of 10-20 lakh rupees. It starts with the new XUV700 later this year-the flagship premium SUV, which will provide some lifestyle and design-driven products, and some models will enter the market segments that Mahindra does not currently exist, and we can even see some dedicated EVs. Said that with such a strong roadmap, the next decade may be Mahindra’s best so far.

See also:

exclusive! Mahindra green light XUV900 SUV coupe

Mahindra Advanced Design Europe will complement the company’s focus on design

Mahindra Thar has undergone actual fuel economy tests and explained

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