Mahindra eyeing African market for new SUV

"XUV500 would be lunched in Johannesburg, South Africa tomorrow and within the next six months would be launched globally in South America, Australia and SAARC countries," Pravin Shah, chief executive, (international operations) automotive and farm sectors at Mahindra & Mahindra told IANS.

Shah did not divulge the price at which the new SUV would be sold in the African nation. The SUV costs between Rs.10.80 lakh-to-Rs.12.88 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).

"The car would be manufactured here and then shipped to South Africa. But we also have fully-owned operations in South Africa, which can also manufacture the product. The operations can supply the SUV to neighbouring countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland," Shah said.

Shah further said that a number of cars as well as auto-parts have already been shipped to Johannesburg, and that training for maintenance and marketing of the new SUV has also been imparted to the company’s employees there.

When asked about the possibility of the SUV being manufactured or assembled aboard, Shah said: “The company would later decide on manufacturing of the product in the foreign countries like Brazil and Egypt, as we have manufacturing capacity there.”

Currently, the company said it will only produce 2,000 units per month at its Chakan plant, located on the outskirts of Pune.

"Going forward we will ramp it up as per the response we receive," said Pawan Goenka, Mahindra & Mahindra President for automotive and farm equipment.

The SUV is expected to raise the company's exports substantially, which are pegged at 2,500 units per month. The company added that it will make some modifications to the export version of the SUV which will depend upon the regulatory environment and customer preferences in those countries.

“The cars would be tweaked a bit. This is done to adhere to the prevailing regulatory environment in those countries as well as customer choices,” Rajan Wadhera, chief executive, technology and product development, Mahindra and Mahindra, told IANS.

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