India’s Hero MotoCorp Ltd., the world’s biggest maker of motorcycles and scooters by volume, also thinks electric “is the way forward,” Chairman Pawan Munjal said in a separate interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday. Hero’s research and development centers in Jaipur and Germany are working “very vigorously” to make electric scooters and motorcycles, while the company is also developing a three-wheeler and has invested in Bengaluru-based electric-scooter startup Ather Energy.
Mahindra is still focusing on larger sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks, a “reasonably large segment to drive scale,” Shah said. The company’s new Thar SUV is proving popular, with a nine-month waiting list, according to Shah. “A changing dynamic we are seeing of consumers wanting to go out with nature a lot more and that positions our SUVs very well.”
Mahindra reported its first quarterly loss in nearly two decades last year as an economic slowdown in India squeezed purchasing power. Rural India was resilient thanks to demand for farm vehicles and equipment, and Shah said this was likely to continue being a growth area for the company.
Mahindra has a 43% market share of India’s tractor market and sees “a lot of opportunity for growth” in the farm implements business, which is still nascent in the country, Shah said. Its unlisted entities are well positioned to expand, in areas including used cars, rural housing finance and supply-chain consulting, he said.
(With assistance from Tom Mackenzie.)