Anand Mahindra has said his company will use its “bouquet of brands” to transition from a home-grown automaker to a multinational automotive corporation.
The company sees, Ssangyong in South Korea, Peugeot Scooters and Automobili Pininfarina in France, and Italy respectively, and Mahindra North America in the US as key beachheads to grow the Mahindra Automotive Group footprint beyond organic expansion into Chile, South Africa, Southeast Asia and the Saarc region under the Mahindra brand.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event to launch the Pininfarina Battista at the Geneva Motor Show, Mahindra said that instead of stretching the Mahindra brand across segments, which may not find relevance, the company will rely on the bouquet of brands globally to expand the footprint of Mahindra Automotive Group.
Pininfarina brand is not Mahindra brands’ global play, but the automotive sectors global play, he said.
“Pininfarina has given the Mahindra automotive business another vector for growth. If we really believe that this will be one of the recession-proof vectors, then Mahindra will play in it, not as a brand, but as Mahindra Automotive group,” Mahindra said.
“There are some beachheads globally, they are not as unknown as one thinks—we are very well known in Chile, South Africa. It is seen as a household name in Korea (with the Ssangyong acquisition).”
Mahindra said the group has sliced the automotive market into three segments – the people mover space with its commercial vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs), the aspirational lifestyle segment which is its core SUV business, and the third is the ‘object of passion’ space, which is being addressed by Pininfarina and Jawa Motorcycles.
Pininfarina Battista, the world’s first luxury electric hyper car, will be launched in 2020 at little over 2 million euros. The company will initially produce only 150 units. “Luxury is about heritage. You don’t have a lifeti-me to build it, you acquire stories.
Once such story we acquired is of Pininfarina. For us Automobili Pininfarina will be upscale low-volume product,” said Mahindra. “As India grows more affluent, it is possible to bring it in India.”
Mahindra said that while people questioned the rationale behind stretching brand ‘Mahindra’ across segments, the company did a “phenomenal job” in stretching it as far as it could go. Afew months ago, Mahindra & Mahindra launched the Alturas premium SUV priced above Rs 25 lakh, making it the most expensive vehicle made by an Indian company.
“How much can we stretch Mahindra the brand? We are right now from three-wheelers to trucks, and despite all the predictions we managed to straddle different segments based on a very core proposition of trust, reliability and durability, and they stretch across all the segments, even in a lifestyle space like the Scorpio to even Furio, it is seen with trust not with dissonance,” said Mahindra.