Facing stiff competition from brands like Hyundai, Maruti and now Jeep, Mahindra & Mahindra is readying itself to improve its standing in the SUV and utility vehicle segment. The home grown brand is set to invest Rs 5,000 crore into the development of four new SUVs which will include two from its new global platform. Pawan Goenka, MD Mahindra & Mahindra, told The Times of India that the first of the SUVs will be a seven-seater MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) that will compete against Toyota Innova. The second vehicle will be based on its Korean subsidiary Ssangyong's Tivoli and will roll out in 2018-19. Internally named the S201, the SUV will be a five-seater. It will carry the company badging and is expected to add refinement in Mahindra's product lineup. Goenka also confirmed that work on the new global platform is in its advanced stage and one of these SUVs will be aimed at international markets. "We expect to drive this one out by 2020, and it will be a premium vehicle. It could be headed to the European markets and those in other regions," Goenka was quoted by TOI.
The company, which sells utility vehicles ranging from compact KUV100 to XUV500, also has plans to introduce a new electric vehicle in the next two years. "We have two products coming in the next two years. One is the U321 MPV which has been developed on the new global platform developed here in Detroit. It will come out this financial year," Goenka told PTI.
Both vehicles will be launched in India first and the company would consider introducing them in other markets as well. While Mahindra & Mahindra did not lose market share, it did not gain any either in the past two years.
In another development, Mahindra & Mahindra is eyeing a $6 million order from the US government postal services. Many other brands are in the race to the contract with several prototypes. Mahindra will be submitting 12 prototypes for testing from September to November.
"The work is at an advanced stage, and we got an $11 million prototype contract from the government. The prototypes have been built in Detroit. While eight of these will be delivered in September, another six will be sent in November," Rick Haas, president and CEO of Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA), was quoted by TOI.
Four other companies are competing for this contract - AM General (US manufacturer of military and commercial vehicle), VT Hackney (manufactures trucks and trailers), Karsan (Turkish manufacturer of commercial vehicles) and Oshkosh Corporation (US manufacturer of speciality trucks and military vehicles).
The company which gets this contract will be required to provide 1.8 lakh vehicles over six years for the US postal services as it renews its fleet of delivery vehicles. The contract enlists a condition according to which the company will have to manufacture the vehicles in the US.