We got a chance to interact with Mr. Pravin Shah, Chief Executive - Automotive Divison, Mahindra & Mahindra and we did what we do best. Read along to find out.
IAB - As a concept, Mahindra brought the Verito EV with REVA's electric powertrain to the Auto Expo last year. In what phase is that project now?
Shah - That project is progressing. As you know we're already on an electric platform. The first E2O was made in the month of March. The product development on the Verito electric (Verito EV) is continuing. Probably you will see the product in the next fiscal.
IAB - Considering that you've pretty much refreshed all your existing products, the Scorpio is the lone vehicle which hasn't received serious cosmetic changes in the last four years. Rival camps are stocking up products today with the Renault Duster, Nissan's upcoming version of the Duster and maybe the Ford EcoSport, to pierce into the Scorpio's market share. Is this the perfect time for the Scorpio to get a refresh?
Shah - As a policy we come out in regular intervals either with refreshes or upgrades. There are feature upgrades and there are technological upgrades which come as a part of the customer insighting. We combine all such insighting into a bundle and launch either a variant or an upgrade.
As far as Scorpio is concerned, it continues to do well, I think the month of May 2013 sales was at its highest (in sales, in history) with or without competition. Scorpio has not been impacted with the advent of either new competition or the existing competition. Our Scorpio sales for the month of May was higher than the much talked about competition’s (Duster) numbers.
IAB - With the Scorpio we saw lower variants launch well into the lifecycle of the product (AT in the mid-variant and another low priced variant followed). Likewise the Xylo got the 'D' variants again sometime into the launch, for the lower segments. Seeing the spur in sales of SUVs, would you believe that the time is ripe for lower variants of the XUV too?
Shah - We have been working on some more variants on the XUV platform and surely we’ll come out in course of time with an additional variant on the XUV platform as well.
IAB - Can you be a bit more specific about the time frame?
Shah - You can expect them in the course of the year.
IAB - You've shown a 4X4 Quanto as a five seater at the Sao Paulo Motor Show last year and did speak about exports during the launch. When do the exports begin and is South Africa the first market?
Shah - We stay focused on export markets and you are right. Surely we are looking at adding new products into the export markets including the Quanto variant of four-wheel drive. We have been working on various markets. I think South Africa being a right-hand drive market, the Quanto surely gets an opportunity to travel there first.
IAB - Can you give us an update on the launch of the Korando C?
Shah - So the fact of the matter is that Rexton is on Indian roads. We keep exploring (product options) and at the right point in time we cross use offerings from Mahindra and Ssangyong stables or the brands.
IAB - Earlier this year you had unveiled the Ssangyong Rodius (Korando Turismo) and it features four rows of seats for 11 people. Mr. Anand Mahindra tweeted saying he is excited by its potential in India. Would you think that the Rodius has good potential for India?
Shah - Yes we have been looking at Rodius as a possible option in India.