Polaris Finds India Terrain Rough, Reviews Eicher JV
In new plan, Eicher Polaris has drawn up a strategy to break even by 2020 Reviving Project Multix
Mumbai: US based all-terrain vehicle specialist Polaris, which entered into a joint venture with Eicher Motors for a personal vehicle Multix, is taking a relook at its India strategy with the venture failing to take off as planned.
Pankaj Dubey, who currently heads the Polaris all-terrain vehicle business and Indian motorcycles brand, has been given the additional responsibility to lead the joint venture and put it back on track. Multix, a multi-utility vehicle, is a unique offering from the Eicher Polaris JV aimed at small traders and farmers who can use this vehicle for both personal and business purposes. “The board members at both Eicher and Polaris are surprised at the business results from the JV so far. The concept holds a great potential — while the business has not got off to the start expected, we have re-looked at our internal expectations,” Dubey, CEO of Eicher Polaris, told ET.
Multix, lacked visibility and since the concept was new, it needed to be marketed aggressively, said people in the know.
Amongst the series of measures planned to revive the initiative, Eicher Polaris has upgraded the product by packing more power with the BS IV offering. For bigger visibility, the company will be more than doubling the network to 150 within just six months. It is also exploring the possibility of assembling its ATV at the JV’s Jaipur facility for a quicker breakeven. The company has a manufacturing facility at Jaipur in Rajasthan with an annual capacity of 60,000 units and has so far invested ₹ 350 crore.
It has re-engaged consultant Francis Xavier Kanoi Institute to identify areas where the strategy didn’t work out as planned, and has appointed third party marketing experts to engage with prospective buyers on ground zero, starting with Karnataka, and eventually expand to other states.
Under the new gameplan, Eicher Polaris has set a clear breakeven plan for the venture by 2020, which is at least18-24 months later than the earlier plan.
For Polaris, the ATV business is already growing and the company has started getting more traction from the army. With the company pitching for several hundred vehicle orders from the army, and with the Indian base taking responsibility of surrounding countries, the possibility of local assembly has been considered. On the Indian motorcycle front, the company is likely to scout for a land for the factory later in the year and is likely to start assembling motorcycles a few years from now.