I call America as our emerging market: Anand Mahindra

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 31 2014, 18:27pm hrs
Anand MahindraMahindra group is really getting its act together of synergy in auto technology. This product (tractor) has gone to a different level, says Anand Mahindra. (Reuters)
With an aim to be one of the most admired corporations by 2020-21, the Mahindra group is looking at its successful tractors business, where it is synergising automotive technology with farm equipment, to take the lead.

Already the world's largest tractor manufacturer by volumes, the USD 16.5-billion home-grown multinational is seeking to enhance its presence in the western market like the US.

"The glamorous side is SUVs but frankly the tractor side is where we are number one in the world. Our brand is making global headway faster on tractors than auto," Mahindra Group Chairman and MD Anand Mahindra told PTI in an interview.

Highlighting the progress that the group has made in the farm equipment sector, he said the latest tractor Arjun Novo was an example of it.

"Our goal was to say we are second to none in technology. We don't want to be value for money tractor that is beating out John Dere and all...This product has incorporated auto technology in the tractor. If you look at electronics, suspension, ergonomics...the state-of-the-art knowledge of R&D we had in auto has come in to (it)," Mahindra said.

The new tractor is the first product to be rolled out since Pawan Goenka took charge of heading both tractor and auto businesses of the group and also after Rajan Wadhera leading the group's tractor and automobiles R&D, he added.

"Mahindra group is really getting its act together of synergy in auto technology. This product (tractor) has gone to a different level," he said.

Commenting on the expansion of the tractor business in developed markets, Mahindra said: "I call America our emerging market, they find it very amusing when I said that. The fastest growth we have got in the last year and a half is in America. We have grown in 35-40 per cent."

The main competitors there are John Dere and New Holland and in the segment Mahindra operates, its market share now has reached 10 per cent, he added.

In the last fiscal the group had sold a total of 2,67,635 tractors, up 20 per cent from the previous year.

In the April-July period this fiscal, the company's total tractor sales were down by 1 per cent to 91,962 units from 93,046 in the year-ago period.

Speaking on the group's ambitions, Mahindra said it was to become one of the most admired corporations or brands by 2020-21 but stated the group has not set any financial goals.

"When you set the right targets, aspirations and you work efficiently and diligently, the numbers happen. We never set financial targets...(but) we have a very strong co-created aspirations...If we do become one of the most admired corporations or brands by 2020-21, it cannot happen without your financial results," Mahindra said.

When asked about ramping up of the group's passenger cars, Mahindra said: "As far as passenger cars are concerned, I have always said in the past, we will work more with partners and partnerships. Our focus on our own would be on the SUVs."

He, however, declined to comment on reports of Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) looking for partnership with Peugeot. The company had in the past joint ventures with Ford and Renault for making and selling cars.

The group currently has the Verito and the Vibe in its car portfolio and the rest are utility vehicles and SUVs.

Mahindra said the group is already working on electric versions of Verito and Vibe.

Stating that a new Scorpio is coming up, Mahindra said: "The pipeline is very strong. We have got refreshes plus new models coming and all of that you would see in a number of launches."

When asked about the market conditions, Mahindra said: "The late Monsoon has delayed the trigger for the industry overall. People have started saying that industry is growing but that's because of the (sales) numbers of certain companies that have got new product launches."

He said a closer look revealed that conversions of footfalls to sales have not started yet for the auto industry as a whole.