M&M All Charged Up for a Hatchback Drive
Auto co looking at range of cars including an electric hatchback
Ketan Thakkar & Ashutosh Shyam
Mumbai: Mahindra & Mahindra, India’s leading SUV specialist, is considering its first ground-up hatchback as part of its plan to have a range of cars to hold its own in the fiercely competitive Indian passenger vehicles market.
Mahindra may tap into the development expertise of Italian design house Pininfarina to plan a hatchback with electric power train, and Ford for a midsized sedan, or it may even plan a mid-sized sedan on its own.
Having lost out to Maruti Suzuki in the utility vehicle space, the company doesn’t want to surrender its first-mover advantage in the electric vehicle (EV) space, with Maruti, Hyundai and Toyota eyeing this emerging space. Pawan Goenka, MD of Mahindra & Mahindra, told ET that the company may develop a product, which will be fired by electric and will be a hatchback.
“For shared mobility providers Ola and Uber, a small hatchback makes good economic sense; it will have more pull in the segment,” said Goenka. Maruti Suzuki and Toyota are likely to roll out their EVs from 2020; Hyundai Motor In- dia too has announced Smart EVs for emerging markets from India in the next few years. Mahindra, as a leader in this space, does not want to lose any territory.
Mahindra will have to invest $110-$120 million on the project if it decides to go ahead with the hatchback plans.
The company is also deliberating whether to go for an electric Verito sedan on its own which will call for an additional investment of ₹ 250-`300 crore, or to settle for a joint electric car with Ford on the US carmaker’s Figo or Aspire architecture. This would take Mahindra’s cumulative investment in EV to beyond $250300 million which will go into electrifying the SUVs, three- wheelers, cars and buses, including investment in battery manufacturing facility and localisation of parts.
The company will have a portfolio of half a dozen vehicles to choose from: first off the block will be the electric version of KUV, the small SUV- S110, which will be followed by another compact electric SUV based on SsangYong platform called S210 On the commercial vehicle front, it has launched the new three-wheelers at the recent Global Automobile Summit — Move in the national capital which runs on electric; Supro, a mini load carrier; and a range of electric buses.
Goenka admitted that selling EVs in India had been much tougher than Mahindra had imagined post the acquisition of Reva in 2010. After pursuing the personal vehicle space, the company changed tack and has started focusing on the commercial, or fleet application.
Pawan Goenka, MD, M&M