No sedans, mini SUVs for M&M: CEO Shah

NEW DELHI: Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has decided not to make sedans, hatchbacks and smaller SUVs, while looks to have an all-new brand of premium, electric SUVs under its Italian subsidiary Pininfarina, which could be priced up to Rs 40 lakh, new MD & CEO Anish Shah has said.
Electrics would be the biggest focus area for the company, which would see investments of over Rs 3,000 crore in the short term, that would be scaled up as the business expands.
Shah, who took charge at the beginning of this month as veteran Pawan Goenka achieved superannuation after nearly three decades of service, said the company — facing stiff competition from a variety of auto makers ranging from Hyundai, Kia, Tata Motors and MG — would focus on selling “true blue, larger SUVs” which are “core” to its heritage and legacy.

He made a reference to the healthy opening of the (new-gen) Thar, which has received bookings over 50,000 units.
Shah said that the company’s product “strike zone” would start from around Bolero, XUV300, Scorpio, Thar, and moving up to XUV500, and thereafter may stretch up to the new brand under Pininfarina.
Pininfarina is in the middle of launching a super-luxury electric car called Batista, which will be priced at 2 million euros.
“Batista is a limited-edition car and we’re going to manufacture only 125 cars… (But) the technology from there is going to help our EV business as we bring the ‘born electric’ platforms in India.”
Asked about formation of an all-electric premium sub-brand for Mahindra with the Pininfarina badge, he said, “It’s absolutely possible… We are considering the possibility, yes… As we develop plans for EV platforms in India, we are looking at whether we should have a second brand, whether the second brand should be Pininfarina.”
Existing vehicles not falling in line of scheme of things may gradually be moved out, while key products such as Scorpio and XUV500 would be upgraded over the next 12-18 months.
The company has been trying to become lean, and moving out of investments and partnerships which it sees as non-core. It is trying to sell Korean acquisition Ssangyong that failed to be a success, and has also called off a proposed JV plan with Ford.
It has scaled down its business in North America, and Shah is seen as a key driving force in these decisions. “Somethings work and somethings don’t… So, what we’ve done right now is — take a quicker action to move out of somethings that didn’t work.”
Mahindra, however, has been losing its grip in the core SUV market as rivals such as Tata Motors, Hyundai and MG have been gaining ground. Shah said Thar has got off to a good start, and the company will follow it with two more SUV launches.
“The second part is around electric vehicles. We’ve got some very good products for last mile mobility and we now have a separate division within the company focused on last-mile mobility.”

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