INTERVIEW WITH MAHINDRA 2 WHEELERS’ MANAGEMENT TEAM
Some large two-wheeler OEMs have had joint ventures and alliances. Will you also look at that route to grow?
Anand Mahindra: When we started off, we already had a collaboration with SYM which we inherited from Kinetic. We have visited them and found them to be good people with good technology. Don’t be surprised if technology flows the other way. To me personally, what will be a matter of pride is when we create technology in India which somebody else would want to buy. I feel the future of alliances will include two-way flow of technology. As far as new partners and alliances, nothing is in the anvil as of now. We have stated clearly that we are open.
Will you continue your partnership with SYM?
Anoop Mathur: There’s nothing as of now to say that it’s a finite partnership. What we have with SYM, in terms of engines or vehicles, is part of the legacy. Going forward, given the vastness of our plan, there may be an array of arrangements. The financial stake of SYM, if any, is through the Kinetic route. The SYM relationship is only licensing of technology arrangement. But the R&D centre is not all encompassing with everything under one roof. Likewise, we will be working with the best in class anywhere in the world, whether it is for styling, engine or whatever.
How would you differentiate your products from others?
VirenPopli: When you start looking from a customer’s point of view, you start looking very differently. We are looking at differentiating our products by looking at them from the customer’s point of view. Currently, the market is like the good old days of Henry Ford, where you can pick up any product as long as it is black. Our products are not about making in millions and selling them in any three colours. We are going down the route of segmented volumes.
Anand Mahindra: We want to redefine the way segmentation is happening. We don’t want to sell by the existing definition. Mahindra 2 Wheelers seems to be at an inflection point.
Three-and-a-half years ago, did you expect the incubation period to be this long?
Anand Mahindra: No. What is important is that we are building a learning organisation. We are here for the long run. Why we think we can make a mark, but I wasn’t underestimating the challenge. We knew it’s going to take a lot of hard work. We also knew that if anyone can crack the code and make a mark, then it is Mahindra, given that we have a brand, we have automotive technology, a rural brand, a network. We are here for the long run, we are a marathon runner. Would I have liked to have more success earlier? Yes.
How much of a change have you made in the Stallio?
Anoop Mathur: We are talking about at least two motorcycles of 110cc. In one sense, if you wish to call it a Stallio, you can call it a Stallio. It is a Stallio that has been completely re-invented and one that will be a pleasure vehicle to ride. Any association with the earlier Stallio is incidental.
Anand Mahindra: We withdrew it when we saw that it was not meeting what the market demanded; it was not due to any technical fault or glitches. It has been completely re-engineered. Now, what we are coming out with is a vehicle co-created with the customer.
Why did you set up the R&D centre in Pune, and not in Mumbai or Chennai?
Anand Mahindra: I don’t want to sound uncharitable, but I think it will be a stretch to say we inherited anything of substance, as far as R&D is concerned. R&D in the future is a network. MRV is a very important node. There are many such nodes. Nashik and Mohali are all nodes. Yanchang in China is a very important node for small tractors. SsangYong is a node.
Even though it is the third largest two-wheeler R&D centre in India on a standalone basis, if you think of us as a node, I would argue there’s no one who can rival the strength that Mahindra brings.
There may be other nodes, as two-wheelers grow. The average age in this centre is 31 years. They are part of the Pune ecosystem of two-wheeler riders. And there has been virtually zero attrition.
P S Ashok: This is also an important hub for vendors. There’s lot of scope for product development here. There’s ARAI and VRDE for example, with whom we do a lot of work. And we have the Chakan plant where we use the test track.
Will you list Mahindra 2 Wheelers on the bourses?
Anand Mahindra: We will not rule that out. Our focus now is on getting the product right. You know the Mahindra Group has a long tradition of accessing markets, of sharing wealth with investors. I don’t see why not. It’s not on the anvil right now. Another reason why we go public is because we want to share wealth with people in the company. Stock options are very much a key incentive and motivator for the people in the company. Will we eventually do it? Yes http://autocarpro.in/contents/NewsDe...=1&NewsID=1603