Mahindra unveils big plans, to launch 21 products by 2020

By S Ben Raja Published on Jul 25, 2018 02:12 PM IST

Chakan (Pune): Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd Truck Bus and Construction Equipment Divisions unveiled the first four products of their Intermediate Commercial Vehicle (ICV) range at an event held at their Chakan plant.

Held on Tuesday, the new launch which includes the Furio closely follows the launch of their Blazo range of trucks in the Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV) segment.

The event witnessed the presence of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd Truck Bus and Construction Equipment Divisions CEO Vinod Sahay, Automotive Sector president Rajan Wadhera and officials from Pininfarina.

This reporter got in touch with Vinod to know what Mahindra has on offer.

Excerpts from his interview:

Q: What made you venture into an already crowded market of ICVs?

A: The Indian commercial vehicle market is expected to compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of three per cent between financial year 2018 and 2021. Of this, the ICV segment alone will be commanding a CAGR of 15 per cent with a market size of 1.38 lakh units in financial year 2018 itself. This an increment of over 40,000 units when compared to the scenario in 2015. This is the reason why we have entered this segment.

Q: How much market share you are aiming in this segment?

A: When we launched our Blazo range of (HCV) trucks a few years ago, we just had a humble beginning of 2.6 per cent in 2015 with 3,499 units sold. But fast forward to 2018, we have sold 15,000 Blazos and command a market share of six per cent and the fourth in the business. We are aiming the same six per cent market share with our Furio range.

Q: Let us know more about your plans with the Furio range.

A: Today we have unveiled four variants in the ICV segment. They will be launched in a couple of months post our board meeting. There are a total of 21 models planned in the Furio range with four diesel engines, one CNG engine and three transmissions. In addition to the four, two more will be launched by this December and another two will be launched by next quarter. The remaining 13 models will be launched post the implementation of BS IV in 2020. The horsepower will range between 80 HP and 180 HP while torque will range between 200 NM and 850 NM. These 21 models will fill the void we had so far in the 6.5 to 16 tonne. The Furio range is fully built on a modular platform.

Q: When brands like Ashok Leyland have already brought our electric CVs, have you not found prospects there?

A: Yes, electric, hybrid technologies are the future and that's the reason Mahindra already has many products with electric tech. But as far as CVs are concerned, there cannot be overnight switches to green fuels. It will take minimum two decades for such a transition in the industry. We are also now working on bio diesel fuel.

Q: The entire design has been done by Pininfarina. Has it increased your investment as brands like Ashok Leyland are saving huge costs there?

A: As per a report, there has been a 95 per cent increase in the sale of CVs with OE cabins. Now, customers are expecting better aesthetics, comfort, efficiency and peace of mind. All these can be achieved only with a brand like Pininfarina. To explain about a few design aspects of our cabins, they are almost five per cent more cooler than the cabins of other trucks thanks to wind tunnel tested design and low rake glass panel.

Q: How was the truck division performnace so far? Do you have any plans of exporting these models?

A: In the fourth quarter of last financial year, we were EBIDTA positive. This year too we are expecting positive EBITDA. We are sorting out options for exporting our Furio range to the nearby countries like Sri Lanka, and few African countries.

Q: What is the total investment for this platform? How will the pricing of the trucks be?

A: We have invested Rs 600 crore in the project and have been working for the past four years. Over 500 employees have worked in the development of these trucks. As far as pricing is concerned, in the beginning, we will be pricing our offerings on par with our competitors. But, as we grow, we will be charging a premium just like the strategy we adopted with our Blazo range.

Q: Any plans of introducing OEM buses and chassis in this platform.

A: As of now, our focus is on selling OEM fully built trucks to establish our brand image in the business. But we also have plans of introducing OEM buses and chassises for customisations.

Q: You have many promises with the Blazo range like mileage, service and spare parts challenges. Will they be applicable to the Furio range?

A: Well, as of now, they are not applicable. But they might be introduced in the future.

Unique aspects
"We have brought in a 10 bar pressure braking system which is first in the industry. Secondly, our MDI engines have driving modes with the option of switching on and off the turbo. This helps us achieve maximum fuel efficiency without compromising on performance. As as matter of fact, we are now number one in entire fluid efficiencies of our trucks. In all the CV segments we are in, we have higher tonnage capacity than our competitors," Vinod Sahay.