Xylo helps M&M buck downturn in UV market

Written by Yogima Seth | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 12 2009, 04:22am hrs
At a time when sales of utility vehicles have slowed down with buyers being weaned away by small and big cars as well as sport utility vehicles (SUVs), home grown Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) has managed to increase its market share by nearly 20% in the utility vehicles category in June on the back of the recently launched Xylo and the company's increased focus on rural India.

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), market share of M&M increased to 58.7% in the utility vehicles segment (which largely include Safari, Sumo, Tavera, Scorpio, Bolero, Xylo and Innova) last month as compared to 39.3% market share in June 2008. In the first quarter of 2009-10 (April-June) also, the market share of the company increased to 58% vis--vis 52% in the corresponding period last year.

The company clocked a growth of 64.6% in utility vehicle sales in June at 13,087 units against 7,951 units in the corresponding month last year. This is robust considering the 10.2% jump in total utility vehicle sales in the country last month at 22,292 units compared to 20,228 units in the year-ago period.

"Mahindra has renewed its focus on upcountry markets, mainly the B and C-class towns, and this has led to one of the highest sales of Bolero in the history of the company. The company has also been very aggressive in tying up with nationalized banks that have lately become much more aggressive in lending. Some are doing it at really attractive rates that have eased the problem of liquidity, resulting in higher sales," says Arun Malhotra, senior vice-president, M&M.

According to Malhotra, while Xylo has created a new segment, the refurbished Scorpio launched in March has also drawn a huge response, which has added to sales. "All the three utility vehicles from Mahindra are catering to different customer profiles. While Bolero is meeting the demands of semi-urban and rural customers, Scorpio is finding preference among the youth. Xylo has been received as a family car," he said.

"The loan waiver scheme has resulted in more disposable income in the hands of customers in rural India. Even the far and wide reach of nationalized banks in every corner of the country has made it possible for people in smaller cities to avail loans which have given a boost to their purchasing power," said a Mumbai-based analyst. He, however, said with the near absence of monsoon in north India till date, demand could take a back seat in the upcountry towns and rural India in the next few months.