The year 2017 has been a year of consolidation and has given the company the much needed breather to take step back and align its business strategy and increase its focus and presence in the global markets. Despite no all-new launches, Mahindra managed to make big headlines on several occasions and is now warming up to 2018, which is when it will execute many of its business plans. It was a year of facelifts for Mahindra on the product front and also announced partnership with Ford that will help Mahindra to increase its global reach and Ford to polish its business in locally. Mahindra & Mahindra is expected to showcase two new concepts at the 2018 Auto Expo and might also showcase an electric SUV.
Soon after the showbiz, Mahindra will launch its Toyota Innova rival which is codenamed as Mahindra U321 during the 1st quarter of financial year 2018-19. This new 7-seater MPV by Mahindra has been developed at Mahindra North American Technical Center (MNATC) in Detroit and the close to production prototypes are now being tested at Mahindra Research Valley in Chennai. Reports also suggest that the development and production of this vehicle will see Mahindra investing Rs 1,500 crore and the vehicle will be manufactured at its plant in Nashik, Maharashtra. This will then be followed by a new crossover vehicle based on Ssangyong Tivoli.
The upcoming Mahindra SUV/Crossover vehicle will get new 1.5L petrol and diesel engines. During the development stages, we expect Mahindra to have considered making the platform of the crossover flexible to support an electric powertrain in future. The design of this Mahindra is being done by leading Italian design firm Pininfarina, which is owned by Mahindra. Mahindra’s core strength in the Indian market has been its UVs, especially products like the Mahindra Scorpio, Mahindra XUV500 and the Mahindra Bolero which is still among the top-5 selling SUVs in the Indian market.
Mahindra-owned Ssangyong brand will launch the all-new Rexton in India during the second half of calendar year 2018 and the company will also be assembling its premium SUV in India to avoid high import duty. 2018 Ssangyong Rexton will be powered by a 2.2L diesel engine, which sheds a power of 187 bhp and 420 Nm of torque. The car will rival the likes of Toyota Fortuner, Isuzu MU-X and Ford Endeavour.
2017 saw no new electric cars hitting the market but Tata Motors and Mahindra managed to make it big in the electric car space by supplying electric cars to the government run EESL. Mahindra welcomed Tata Motors in the electric car segment and also announced fresh new investments towards electric vehicle segment. Work is already underway to expand its Mahindra Electric plant in Bengaluru and in 2018, we will also see an electric avatar of Mahindra KUV100.
Mahindra Electric is currently working on increasing its production capacity from 500 units/month to 1000 units/month which is expected to be done in next 4-5 months, confirmed Dr. Pawan Goenka. The company also plans an output of 5000 units every month from 2019. An additional Rs 500 crore has been invested to do the same and expect Mahindra to invest another considerable amount in next three years.
Expect some big announcement about Jawa Motorcycles soon and Mahindra might also merge its electric and two-wheeler business to develop electric scooters or electric two-wheelers. While this is a speculation, I’m sure Mahindra would have thought about it at sometime.
Mahindra has addressed and evaluated its business strategy and 2018 is the year to execute all of them. From new products to investing in future technology to venturing into new markets, Mahindra has placed itself in a good position to dominate the auto-industry in 2018. The company will also be bidding for the next government tender for procuring electric cars and continue to work with its cab-aggregator partners like Uber, Ola and Zoomcars to contribute towards India’s EV dream.
Overall, Mahindra seems to have an edge over its competitors when one considers future mobility. The future is certainly going to be a mix of propulsion technologies, of which electric will be a major one. By acting now the Indian company is taking a leap into the next paradigm. And, this isn’t the end of all that Mahindra is planning. The partnership with Ford to develop future mobility technologies is something we haven’t even started to talk about.