The core of Anand Mahindra’s mobility mantra

Murali Gopalan Mumbai | Updated on January 20, 2018

Anand Mahindra, Chairman and Managing Director of Mahindra Group, poses with a Mahindra e20 electric car during its launch in London, April 15, 2016. Photo: Reuters

Being prepared with a host of solutions is key, says Group Chairman

The topic of mobility solutions is close to Anand Mahindra’s heart and puts in context the recent debut of the e20 in London.

This event took place barely a fortnight after the high profile launch of the Model 3 from Tesla Motors which put the spotlight on electric cars all over again. It is a space that the Chairman of the Mahindra Group is especially upbeat about since the time his company acquired Reva Electric Car Company in 2010.

Yet, electric mobility is still in its nascent stages even as companies like Tesla, BMW, Mahindra & Mahindra, Nissan and a host of others are doing their bit in promoting the cause of clean air. “Branding in electric mobility is critical but I think what Tesla has also demonstrated is that you can build new brands,” Mahindra told BusinessLine at the launch of the e20.

“That if you also do the right thing in the relevant space you are in, there is nothing that can prevent you from becoming a big and well known influential brand much faster than what one would have imagined,” he added.

Since the time M&M made its intent known with the Scorpio over 15 years ago, it has decided to expand its portfolio of mobility solutions. Today, these extend from two-wheelers to trucks even while SUVs remain its core focus area. Mahindra believes a large basket is the need of the hour especially when it means being part of a planet where transport dynamics are changing rapidly.

Gearing up for change

For instance, ownership of cars is no longer a fashionable pastime with the Ubers and Olas now offering customers a far more affordable commuting alternative. Despite these changes, Mahindra said it was practically impossible to predict what the future landscape would look like.

“If I knew what the challenges were, that would mean I would know the trajectory for mobility solutions. It is such an uncertain universe out there that you have to create what I call real options and develop capabilities that will enable you to deal with an environment that will change anyway,” he said.

Hence, while there is no telling how long fossil fuels will continue to be relevant or if electric cars will gain traction in the coming years, the bigger job on hand is to be prepared for change. “I do believe it is important to be future-ready with a portfolio to be able to deal with however the market evolves. This is better than just forecasting accurately but in having the weapons ready to deal with the uncertainties,” said Mahindra.

This is where the company’s bouquet of mobility solutions is “one of the weapons in the armory” and among the competencies being developed to stay ahead of the curve. In addition, products like the e20 will help in redefining the M&M brand and helping it become more modern.

Going forward, Mahindra sees a “major renaissance” of the automotive industry coming up which is about new fuels and technology and interesting changes in mobility solutions. The way in which cars are designed, manufactured and stored will also change dramatically.

In his view, companies have to look at not only the factory or dealer gate and assume that is where they end their activity. “There are new ways in which cars will be used and sold and companies are going to look at how they value-add and forward integrate,” said Mahindra.

Published on April 21, 2016

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