Mahindra on track with its EVs despite global slowdown

    Born EVs will have a wow design, which is what customers want, says Mahindra ED and CEO Rajesh Jejurikar.

    Published On May 20, 2024 02:38:00 PM

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    Mahindra upcoming EVs

    From left to right (clockwise) Mahindra BE.07, BE.09, BE.05 and XUV.e9.

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    Rajesh Jejurikar, ED and CEO, Mahindra’s Automotive and Farm Business, says the Indian market has “very functional EVs,” and not products that can, “wow the customers”. Mahindra has lined up  five EVs between now and 2026, which are based on its ground-up EV architecture, designed to “wow” the customers, claims the company.

    “We believe we should create a very strong lifestyle proposition for customers saying that we are here to create an exciting SUV portfolio, which will have a standout design, a very good level of tech, and be fun to drive,” said Jejurikar.

    EV sales declining

    EVs have started witnessing a challenge globally, and monthly sales have started declining even in India. In FY24, approximately 99,000 electric vehicles were sold with a market share of about 2.3 percent versus 88,000 hybrid vehicles, which accounted for 2 percent of the overall market. There has been a surge in interest in hybrid vehicles, and there was also buzz about a potential correction on taxes for hybrid vehicles in India.

    Jejurikar says it has been confirmed from the finance minister that there is no GST reduction planned for hybrids, which isn’t surprising given their imperative has been to “drive EV growth.”

    Rajesh Jejurikar, ED and CEO, Mahindra Automotive and Farm Business

    He explained that a lot of people tend to compare India with the rest of the world and that is not “the right thing to do,” as hybrids’ share is negligible compared to global markets where it’s between “15 and 25 percent.”

    Drawing a parallel to the Thar – on how “wow products” do well in the market regardless of demand – Jejurikar reminded analysts that the brand hit a new peak last month, after being in the marketplace for 3-4 years.

    “People buy wow products. I mean, there's no rational reason to buy a Thar, it's just a very emotional wow purchase. We do believe that when you have the right proposition, people are going to buy it. Electric has the benefits of an amazing driving experience apart from the quietness, the acceleration, all of that. It’s a totally different experience and as customers experience that, I'm sure they'll move to the right products,” elaborated Jejurikar.

    Committed to EVs, but open to hybrids

    Mahindra is staying committed to its electric path, but the top management is not ruling out hybrids. “For us, hybrid is an option. Just as diesel was to gasoline – a more fuel-efficient alternative, and when diesel prices were lower than petrol, customers who had to run a lot of their vehicle every day preferred to buy a diesel vehicle. The same thing is going to happen with hybrids today,” said Jejurikar.

    “Five, seven years back, customers bought a Mahindra because they wanted fuel efficiency. Today, that's amongst the least important buying reasons. So, we don't see hybrid customers actively cannibalise us, except in some very few segments. At an appropriate time, depending on how the category is moving, we will look at hybrids,” he assured.

    Also see:

    Mahindra Scorpio N, Scorpio Classic order backlog reduces to 86,000 units

    Mahindra XUV 3XO deliveries start May 26

    Mahindra Cars

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