Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mahindra Speaks: Joint Ventures, Acquisitions, and US Vehicles

“Unfortunately, I can’t talk too much about it because it’s a legal situation. But it’s unfortunate, and we have to be honest about that. It’s not something we would have liked to happen, it’s something we are dealing with and hope to overcome it. All we are saying is that we remain committed to entering the market, but clearly this is an obstacle.” Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra; regarding the lawsuit filed against Mahindra & Mahindra by US Mahindra vehicle importer, Global Vehicles USA

India’s Economic Times interviewed Anand Mahindra to get his perspective on Mahindra & Mahindra’s many recent partnerships and acquisitions in the technology, automotive, and aerospace industries.

Mahindra & Mahindra has recently acquired Australian aircraft manufacturer Gippsland Aeronautics, with the intention of building fixed-wing aircraft in India within the next three years. Mahindra has also taken over majority stake in Indian-American electric car company, Reva. Most recently, Mahindra has been rumored to be communicating with Proton/Lotus about a partnership, and they are currently completing due diligence on the potential acquisition of failing South Korean auto manufacturer, Ssangyong.

Mahindra clearly has high expectations for M&M and India to become global economic and technology powerhouses. In the interview, Mahindra emphasizes that there is method to their JV and acquisition madness:

“We will do joint ventures with other elements of the automotive industry, whether it’s trucks, vans two wheelers, everything else. We are open to alliances because what they allow us is to mimic the benefits of a large automotive company. And when you add our tractors into this then we are a company which is already over half million vehicles without even counting two wheelers which are growing, and not even counting trucks. Nobody can actually say that we have drawbacks of a niche player. We have the volumes to build scale where scale is needed, procurement, R&D etc.” – Anand Mahindra

While Mahindra is very clear about on-road vehicle and tractor market strategies, it is still unclear when their line of 30mpg, all-diesel, pickup trucks and SUVs will arrive in the United States.

Anand Mahindra’s comments certainly seem to suggest that the lawsuit filed by Global Vehicles could delay the US introduction of these rugged, India-made pickups beyond the currently expected December 2010 launch date. Further delays would be ironic considering that the foundation of the lawsuit accuses Mahindra of purposely delaying their entry into the United States. The future of the Mahindra TR20 and TR40 pickups is still unknown.

To read the entire interview, click here: None of our M&As are done for ego and size: Anand Mahindra (popup warning)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mahindra Looking to Partner with Lotus

While it is unclear what type of partnership Mahindra seeks with high performance sports car manufacturer, Lotus Cars, it is clear that they have been open to a relationship with Lotus’ Malaysian parent company, Proton, since their manufacturing joint venture with Renault cars evaporated earlier this year.

Proton is apparently eager to create a joint venture with a company established in India to build and distribute their vehicles for the Indian market. It is rumored that Mahindra is interested in the electric and hybrid technology expertise of Lotus Engineering.

Keep in mind that Lotus currently supplies nearly half of the content of the Tesla Roadster. A joint venture with Proton could provide valuable resources in the design of lightweight chassis and suspension systems for future Mahindra Reva electric car projects and potentially develop additional electric technology improvements for Reva cars and Mahindra SUV’s.

Lotus has previously assisted Mahindra in developing improved high speed stability characteristics of the current Mahindra Scorpio SUV.

Source: Money Control

Friday, June 18, 2010

Episode V: Anand Strikes Back

"Yes, an unfortunate development. Groundless charges; Can't comment since now legal,"

- Anand Mahindra, Vice Chairman, Mahindra & Mahindra (via Twitter, @AnandMahindra)

The Times of India reports that Mahindra finds the lawsuit filed against them by US importer, Global Vehicles USA, Inc., to be without merit. Mahindra intends to refute GV’s allegations that Mahindra has not held up to US vehicle delivery expectations.

To read the complaint filed by GV in Atlanta District Court on Monday, follow the link to Jalopnik who have been kind enough to post the document in its entirety: This is the Lawsuit (Thanks GoSlicker007 for the tip)

Sources: Times of India, Jalopnik

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Official: Mahindra Has Now Pissed Off Everyone in the USA broke news yesterday (via that US-based vehicle importer, Global Vehicles, USA, has filed a lawsuit against Indian SUV manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra Limited.

Global Vehicles USA, Inc is the Alpharetta, Georgia based company designated as the official importer for India-built Mahindra diesel pickup trucks which have been expected for sale in the United States since 2009. The lawsuit is over Mahindra’s delays in readying the vehicles for sale on US soil.

Repeated delays, nonexistent advertising, delayed action on key milestones, and near total lack of communication from the USD $6 billion Indian conglomerate has created considerable tension between Mahindra and their US importer. Much of the stress has seemingly intensified in the past year.

Global Vehicles has reportedly spent almost USD $35 million dollars preparing for the launch after establishing well over 300 dealers across the country. Considering that each dealer had to fork over around USD $200,000 for the privilege of becoming a Mahindra franchise, then had to commit to building a Mahindra-specific facility at each location; it is easy to understand how Mahindra has built their US enterprise on a foundation of frustration.

The dedicated American fan-base who have been patiently waiting for Mahindra’s mid-size, 30-mpg diesel pickups, have been riding the relentless seas of anticipation and disappointment. The last rogue wave to rock the hardcore Mahindra fan boat was the announcement by Mahindra in May stating that US-bound Mahindra TR20 and TR40 pickups would not be available until December 2010.

Even’s own hack editor has personally felt the mighty Mahindra wingtip painfully displace his dangly bits in recent weeks.

Several scenarios may be construed at this point:
  • GV is feeling serious pressure (from their bankers and dealers) to do whatever they can to force Mahindra to deliver vehicles ASAP. A lawsuit could be a motivator.
  • Mahindra is purposely dragging their feet because they are truly not prepared to launch vehicles in the US for some reason.
  • Mahindra is dragging their feet because they want to get away from GV and establish their own in-house distribution of Mahindra vehicles in the US.
  • Mahindra is dragging their feet because they want to boot GV and go with another US-based importer.
  • Mahindra has gotten cold feet and are going to scrap their US plans altogether.


 Some things just aren’t adding up either:

  •  Mahindra has still not filed emissions certification paperwork with the EPA
  • Mahindra has still not completed the needed formal use requirements to register US trademarks for    “Mahindra TR20” and “Mahindra TR40”. Mahindra applied for the trademarks nearly a year and a half ago, but have not followed through with registration.
  • Mahindra has not made any effort to directly promote or advertise Mahindra vehicles in the United States, despite hiring two internationally known advertising agencies to do so.
  • Mahindra has allegedly built 175 US-spec, pre-production TR pickups in India, but apparently none have been sent here for evaluation or testing.

 Is it going to happen? Has Mahindra burned too many bridges before even delivering a product? If/when the trucks get here will Mahindra bust out some sweet Jedi mind tricks and get everyone forget about the current drama and delays?

We’ll let the reader ponder these points. While this all gets sorted out, Mahindra Planet will be driving around in our exclusive Mahindra TR40 Unicorn Edition pickup… and wearing a cup.


Friday, June 4, 2010

Mahindra v. Winfield, Part I

Yep, it’s true. Without divulging too many details at this time, the company (Mahindra) whose product (their US-bound pickups) I am unequivocally passionate about, has decided to lay some big brother smackdown on my pimply backside.

Indeed, Mahindra Planet is a substantial vehicle for relaying Mahindra happenings to fellow fans, and even the haters as well. With over 100 posts in the past year and a half and over 6,500 visits each month, Mahindra Planet has been a highly visible proponent and supporter of Mahindra in the United States. Okay, I’ve aired negative opinion and concerns once in a while, but even that is driven by the desire to see Mahindra improve their customer relations and succeed as a whole.

Oh, and this is all done with negative profit. That’s right. I pay for hosting and domain names. Even the small bit of advertising on the blog doesn’t return a fraction of the expense. Nope, I actually do this for personal satisfaction and (gasp) fun.

So, I’ve taken a shot to the nuts of epic proportions.

I’ve been busy putting together a defense for my apparently despicable, distasteful, and borderline criminal misrepresentation of Mahindra, their good name, and their fine products.

For some reason, I’m currently not too motivated to spread the Mahindra gospel and put a positive spin on the weird way they do business or treat their importer and prospective dealers.

You will have to excuse me; I have to get back to justifying my existence to the company that I help promote from the kindness of my heart.