Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), the world’s largest tractor manufacturer by volume, said it plans to set up a Mahindra Ag Tech Centre in US at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center.
Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), the world’s largest tractor manufacturer by volume, said it plans to set up a Mahindra Ag Tech Centre in US at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. The company said in a release on Tuesday that the research facility will focus on creating technology products for the North American agriculture market. Currently, M&M is ranked third in the 0-120 HP category of tractors in the US.
“Mahindra Group strives to be at the forefront of technology and innovation with a view to improve the lives of our customers. We call this innovation initiative FutuRise,” said Rajesh Jejurikar, president, Mahindra & Mahindra Farm Equipment Sector. “Leveraging the eco-system of a leading academic institution such as Virginia Tech will foster innovation and enable us to stay ahead globally,” he added.
M&M’s farm equipment business intends to tap into the US technology ecosystem at Virginia Tech in two ways. The first is to establish a hi-tech R&D facility at Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC). The second is to collaborate with Virginia Tech researchers on technology projects to develop new generation farm equipment and work on the latest in technology, that envisions grape-picking robots and tractors that communicate with GPS systems and repair shops.
The Mahindra AgTech Centre will complement the work being done in product development centres at Mahindra Research Valley in India, Japan and Finland to create product solutions for farmers globally. It will be headed by Hugo Correa, head of product planning at Mahindra Farm Equipment Sector, who will lead a team to work on integrating advanced technology into product programmes. Mahindra North America has eight facilities for assembling, distributing and manufacturing tractors and utility vehicles in North America.
“Once the facility is fully established at VTCRC, Mahindra Group will be Virginia Tech’s largest internationally headquartered tenant,” said Guru Ghosh, vice-president, Virginia Tech Outreach and International Affairs. He added that this association between Mahindra and VTCRC has culminated into an enterprise that brings together research, practical application, and commercialisation.
M&M has been looking at making its tractor business “global in true sense”, Pawan Geonka, MD, M&M had been quoted as saying on the strong performance of the farm equipment business recently.Total tractor sales (domestic + exports) in April 2018 were at 30,925 units, up from 26,151 units in the same period last year, a growth of 18.2%.
“We have set an ambitious target to make Mahindra a global brand. With the new strategy, which includes organic as well as inorganic growth, today our global operations account for almost 37% of the total revenue of the sector,” Jejurikar told FE last week.
He added, “Our acquisitions such as Mitsubishi Mahindra Agricultural Machinery Co in Japan, Sampo Rosenlew, a combine harvester company based in Finland, Hisarlar, a farm equipment company and Erkunt Traktor Sanayii AS, both based in Turkey, are also maturing, thereby driving growth for us. To add to it, our product pipeline is strong from a global product development standpoint”.
Meanwhile, M&M on Tuesday said that it has agreed to invest up to C$6.63 million, equivalent to approximately Rs 34.5 crore in Resson Aerospace Corporation, a Canadian company which focuses on imagery analysis for monitoring the health of crops.
The company informed the stock exchange that it will acquire up to 800,402 Class C preferred shares of Resson Aerospace, which translates into 10% of the company’s share capital on a fully diluted basis.