Mumbai, April 16
Mahindra & Mahindra’s market share in the SUV space has never been as intensely challenged as it is today. Despite having more SUVs in its line-up than any other company M&M has not only failed to boost its market share through new launches but it has failed in arresting its steady erosion as well.
Despite such persistent trials, the Mumbai-based company has not shied away from veering off to unmapped and uncharted waters. From building SUVs and tractors M&M has branched out to build power gensets, civilian planes, earth movers and even yachts over the past few years.
It added another feather in its cap this week when it announced the formation of a new company that will make super luxury cars rubbing shoulders with the best in the business such as Tesla, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW.
Under the brand Pininfarina, which for the most part of its 88-year-old history has designed cars for cherished brands like Ferrari and Maserati, M&M has plans to build fast and luxurious electric hypercars under the Italian brand.
Though only 100 of these hypercars will be made to highlight its exclusivity it will be the first time that the iconic design house from Turin, Italy will step into the world of manufacturing under its own brand, fulfilling the dream of its founder.
Paolo Pininfarina, Chairman, Pininfarina SpA, “This project helps me and my family to realize my grandfather’s dream of seeing outstanding innovative cars solely branded Pininfarina on the roads”. The first of these limited cars will be rolled out in 2020.
At Mahindra & Mahindra electric mobility is catching up fast. The company which finished 8th at the inaugural race at the FIA Formula E Championship in 2014-15 secured a podium finish last year at the third spot and is ranked second in the on-going season.
Mahindra hopes that its experience in Formula E will aid in achieving the vision of a fast and luxurious supercar from Pininfarina. The race cars that M&M uses in the Championship are capable of hitting a top speed of 225km/hr and a 0-100km/hr sprint in under 3 seconds.
The Pininfarina hypercar promises to even better that. The hypercar will be capable of hitting 0-100 kmph in less than 2 seconds and clock a top-speed of over 400 kmph. The vehicle will have a range of over 500 kms on a full charge and will likely be priced under Euro 2 million.
Rescued from the brink of bankruptcy Pininfarina believes it is on course for a spectacular turnaround. From design to branding to manufacturing the Italian company has set its sights on becoming the aspirational brand for the rich. M&M invested in the debt-laden Italian company in late 2015 with a vision to strengthen its design capabilities stationed in the heart of Europe.
However, this is not the only instance where M&M has stepped in to pedal up an ailing company. Two years ago Mahindra bought defunct British motorcycle company BSA for Rs 28 crore. At the same time, it bought production rights in India for famed Czech bike brand Jawa.
In 2014 M&M had acquired little known, lossmaking, premium scooter making company Peugeot Motorcycles based in France. In 2008 M&M had acquired business assets of loss-making Kinetic Motors including its products.
Products from either of these brands are not available in India. In fact, the first products under Jawa and BSA are yet to see the light of the day even as M&M decided to drop the idea of bringing Peugeot products to India. Not only has Kinetic products vanished from showrooms M&M’s indigenously developed products too have been pulled out.
How far will the decision to make luxury electric hypercars from Pininfarina be successful for M&M will depend entirely on the product’s acceptability from buyers as well as their ability to afford it. But we will have to wait till 2020 for the verdict.
Mumbai, April 16