Mahindra & Mahindra, a "challenger" brand in the Indian medium and heavy commercial vehicle (M&HCV) industry, is eyeing new milestones.
In the heavy truck market, Mahindra Truck and Bus (MTB) is aiming for the No. 3 position and a market share of 10 percent. From a share of 2.6 percent in FY15, it says, the share currently stands at 5 percent during the first half of the current financial year driven by its Blazo range. "Number 3 should happen earlier than 10 percent, because the current No. 3 doesn't have a 10 percent market share. In LCV and LCV buses, we are already No. 3. Hopefully, it should happen in the next couple of years," says Vinod Sahay, CEO, Mahindra Truck and Bus.
Vinod Sahay (left), seen here at the launch of the Blazo X, with Rajan Wadhera, president, Automotive Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra.
In a highly competitive M&HCV market which is dominated by Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland, the task of selling becomes much more demanding for a "challenger" brand. Add to that a premium of around Rs 150,000, and it compounds the challenge. Mahindra Truck & Bus took the strategy of 'guarantee or penalty' to convince customers over the past three years. Even that didn't bring customers in hoards. Even a year ago, out of all customers who MTB used to reach out to, not more than 30 percent actively considered the brand. Active consideration is where the brand is one of the final two brands the customer shortlists. "Today that consideration for us has gone very high. Out of the customers we are reaching almost 70-80 percent are considering us," says Sahay.
The Blazo family is for trucks ranging from 25 tonnes to 49 tonnes. The company claims that 44 percent of its sales every month come from its existing customer base. Most of the customers are large fleet operators. Sahay says that 65 of India's top 100 fleet operators also have bought Blazos.
Full range player by 2020
Mahindra is set to expand its commercial vehicle play with the market launch of its first range of products of the Furio range by early next year. The Furio range will include 21 products ranging from 5.5 tonnes to 18 tonnes. The company will launch four new products before BS VI emission norms kick in from April 1, 2020. With the flagship Blazo, Furio ILCV and the Optimo LCV range, MTB aims to be a full- range player by 2020.
Meanwhile, the OEM is looking to expand its range through new variants, some of which is also being triggered by the axle load norms that kicked in recently. "Axle loading has created those opportunities. But those opportunities will be leveraged fully once the economy also moves in the direction where such loads are available. For sure, we are working on variants – both on the Blazo and Furio. Every year we introduce 4-5 variants," says Sahay.
MTB today launched the Blazo X, which promises at least 5 percent better fuel efficiency and costs Rs 25,000 more than the Blazo it replaces.
Also read: CV industry firing on all cylinders, Tata Motors leads gains in H1 FY2019