Another Indian brand coming
Mahindra adding more spice to booming car industry
WITH motorization now seemingly reachable for the Philippines, the influx of more automotive brands in the coming years is a given.
The trend over the years has spelled China in a big way, but reliability issues continue to linger in the minds of a maturing local market that has risen above penny pinching.
So local investors are forced to dig deep into their list of remaining choices, and one source that has emerged of late is no other than India.
First, there was Suzuki Maruti; then came Tata Motors. Soon, vehicles carrying a silver logo inspired by the word “Rise” will be whizzing on the local roads.
That’s Mahindra, the flagship vehicle brand of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M).
While the entry of Mahindra would expectedly be met with much skepticism by local consumers, already at ease with their favored Japanese, American, Korean or even European brands, it’s a business venture that deserves more than a second look.
M&M is definitely going to unveil the sweetest automotive offerings to a Philippine market which has known that acronym as a chocolate brand for the longest time.
Talk about business credentials, and M&M has got tons of it—a good reason why its local partner, The Columbian Group, made it the newest addition to its expansive network of partners worldwide that already includes such giant brands as BMW, Kia and Peugeot.
Mahindra is the largest vehicle manufacturer in India, the spinoff of its continuing success as the largest seller of tractors in the world.
Even before Mahindra automobiles would have found their way on local roads, the brand’s presence had long been felt in the country, all because of the tractors in farms that helped attain our status as an agricultural heavyweight in the past.
Originally set up as a steel trading company in 1945 by brothers K.C. Mahindra and J.C. Mahindra and Malik Ghulam Mohammed, M&M has grown to become one of India’s most trusted names. M&M eventually saw business opportunity in expanding into manufacturing and selling larger multipurpose utility vehicles with assembly under license of the Willys Jeep in India.
Soon established as the Jeep manufacturers of India, the company later expanded to manufacturing light commercial vehicles and agricultural tractors.
Today, Mahindra & Mahindra is a key player in the utility-vehicle manufacturing sector in the Indian automobile industry, with assets totaling no less than $16.5 billion. The company has effectively used India’s growing global market presence in both the automotive and farming industries to push its products in more than 20 countries worldwide.
It is also a major supplier of military vehicles in India, having had extensive experience in producing military jeeps, thanks to its early association with Willys Jeep.
As a way of showing its commitment to the relationship with M&M, The Columbian Group sent a big business delegation to Mumbai where key executives and potential dealers were introduced to the top Mahindra management and shown firsthand how Mahindra went through the manufacturing process at three different plants that showcased the company’s commitment to quality.
And as far as delegation leader Felix Mabilog was concerned, this assiduous figure behind many a Columbian Group business sojourns liked what he saw.
“The Columbian Group, long known to bring in some of the best and most reliable vehicles in the country, is looking forward to representing yet another trustworthy brand in Mahindra, one of India’s most successful automobile manufacturers,” he said.
The initial plan is to bring in the Bolero, which will be called Enforcer in the Philippines, that should satisfy the cravings of the country’s budding entrepreneurs for a more affordable pickup.
The same model which the local police is securing as a patrol car next year will be issued in two- and four-door models with a full-enclosed SUV looming as the third variant.
“We are committed to bringing in the most reliable workhorses that are affordable at the same time. We see this as another great opportunity to empower the Filipino car buyer with quality choices for their varying endeavors,” Mabilog added.
The introduction of the Bolero by the first quarter of next year should be followed by a series of new offerings, mostly SUVs which have become the hottest commodity in the car market. And Mahindra has its plate full of attractive models that should relate well with the needs of the Filipino consumers.
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