Opinion: Why Indian automakers should enter real estate

    It’s time Indian automakers like Mahindra, Royal Enfield get entrenched in their customers’ lifestyles.

    Published on Jun 28, 2024 07:30:00 AM


    Opinion: Why Indian automakers should enter real estate

    Speaking to Bentley’s director of design, Robin Page, at the drive of the Bentley Continental GT prototype I learned that he was just back from Miami, where the company is busy constructing its own Bentley-branded luxury apartments. It’s a novel idea, but not unique. Porsche, incidentally, has a tower next door, and other carmakers like Aston Martin and Mercedes have also ventured into real estate. And that got me thinking: could an Indian brand do the same? In fact, Tata and Mahindra are already in the real estate business with Tata Housing and Mahindra Lifespaces.

    So what would these residences look like? They cannot be a regular building simply carrying the brand name. Homes by the aforementioned brands all carry their design ethos and have some unique touch. The Bentley apartments, for instance, use a diamond pattern for the exterior glass finish, a nod to the brand’s diamond-pattern radiator grille and the quilting on the seats. Some of the interior fixtures and switches will resemble those on the cars, too, said Page. The highrise also allows owners to ‘drive’ up to their homes in elevators that transport them and their cars right to their floor, where each owner has a multi-car garage.

    But back to Indian brands, and I’ll admit I’m falling short of ideas for Tata Motors. For Mahindra, though, there seems to be potential. With its strong off-road and outdoor image, holiday homes in the wilderness would be a great fit. These could be at hill stations or near forests and beaches. Taking things further, I wouldn’t only use the Mahindra brand but the Thar moniker, too. Mahindra Thar Villas, anyone? Neat mountain homes, built and managed by Mahindra, with lovely off-road trails in the vicinity.

    Bikemakers, too, could get in on this. Royal Enfield Residences? Bungalows with a garage for owners to tinker with their bikes and a showcase-like glass window to park their prized possessions, which they could then admire from their living room. Assuming I could afford it, I know I’d like one in my hometown in Goa.

    These are just a few ideas. If given serious thought, a lot of interesting possibilities exist. A few months ago, I wrote about co-branded special-edition cars, like a Taj edition Tata with a citronella or jasmine air freshener, the same as the ones used in Taj properties, along with the hotel’s signature design motifs. So, residences by Indian automakers seem like a good business case. In any case, this isn’t something an automaker does itself but in a partnership with an existing real-estate company to which the automaker lends its design, philosophy, and, of course, brand name. It’s time then for Indian automakers to go beyond selling and servicing their vehicles and getting into their customers’ lifestyles.

    Also see:

    Opinion: why Indian special edition cars should tell stories

    Opinion: Is Tata missing a trick by not doing a modern-day Sumo?


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