The Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra plans to regain some lost ground on its home market by building a premium SUV created by its newly bought Italian design house Pininfarina.
Mahindra & Mahindra, the biggest maker of SUVs and tractors in India, has just showcased a new SUV concept at the 2016 Auto Expo in New Delhi, but the company aims higher in the near future. Even if the Indian automaker is still the leader of its domestic SUV market, industry data shows that its market share shrunk from almost 48 percent a couple of years ago to around 37 percent, because of an increase in competition from global carmakers which are bringing more appealing models. However, Mahindra now has an ace up its sleeve and it plans to use it. After months of speculations, the purchase negotiations of Italian car designer Pininfarina by Mahindra & Mahindra were almost concluded in December, with the Indian company buying 76 percent of the design house.
Mahindra has already started the talks with Pininfarina to build a premium car and it will decide within the coming months on the type of model and timing of its release, likely some four years later, Executive Director Pawan Goenka told Reuters at the Delhi Auto Show this week. “Pininfarina can help Mahindra go to the next step in our effort to become global,” Goenka said. “We want to leverage the brand, design and engineering expertise.”
But the Italian brand will also open other business opportunities for Mahindra, such as air transport and consumer goods, said Jagdish Mitra, chief strategy and marketing officer at Tech Mahindra. “We primarily work on the engineering side but tomorrow our opportunity lies in getting significantly involved in design,” said Mitra.