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Mahindra Celebrates 10 Years Of Success In SA

Mahindra 10 Years in South Africa

Mahindra is celebrating its 10th year in South Africa during 2014. For a new brand in a country with a plethora of global brands, it is certainly a heartening success story. From small beginnings in 2004 with two products - the Bolero pick-up and seven-seater Scorpio SUV - and four dealers, there are now more than 25 000 Mahindra vehicles on Southern African roads.

The company made a conscious decision from the outset to establish a subsidiary in South Africa instead of following the easier route of appointing an importer or distributor. This was due to the long term aspirations of the Mahindra Group to become an increasingly significant player on the African continent rather than looking for short term profitability.

Commenting on this milestone, Dr. Pawan Goenka, Chairman, Mahindra South Africa, said "We are particularly proud of our achievements at Mahindra South Africa which truly epitomise the Mahindra Group's Rise philosophy of Alternative Thinking, Driving Positive Change and Accepting No Limits. This approach has helped make us one of the fastest growing automotive brands in the country.

He added, "I am confident that we would continue to grow strongly in the future backed by our diverse range of products that offer accessible technology and excellent value to our local customers."

Mahindra SA has earned a good reputation for itself by offering added value to customers, which is positive for its brand image. In fact, a recent survey conducted by the company has revealed that Mahindra owners rate their vehicles very highly and have a high propensity to buy another Mahindra.

Since 2012, Mahindra SA has also been responsible for the sales, marketing and servicing of SsangYong products in SA following the takeover of the South Korean vehicle manufacturer by the Mahindra Group.

Annual sales have risen each year as more and more buyers select a model from the growing Mahindra and SsangYong model ranges for their toughness, durability and low running costs; it is a choice that makes good economic sense, particularly in these times of growing financial pressure.

Last year, sales in SA exceeded 4 000 Mahindra and SsangYong vehicles, which was an improvement of 4% on the 2012 figure. In 2012, Mahindra was declared the fastest growing brand in South Africa. This was revealed in an edition of Moneyweb, where RGT SMART, the Port Elizabeth-based automotive market intelligence company, plotted each automotive brand's year-on-year sales growth. (RGT SMART collates and analyses SA vehicle sales statistics for a number of clients).

The Mahindra SA product range has grown to 10 models over the years, made up of the Mahindra Bolero and Genio pick-ups, Scorpio pick-up and SUV, Quanto SUV, XUV500 SUV, Xylo MPV, SsangYong Actyon Sport, Korando and Rexton W.

The current range of modern Mahindra and SsangYong vehicles feature a number of important safety features, while most models have service plans and certain derivatives also have extended warranties, all adding up to excellent value for money.

The fact that this 10-year period for Mahindra in SA included the global economic meltdown of 2008/9 meant challenging times for the fledgling local subsidiary of the multinational Mahindra Group. However, CEO Ashok Thakur says it turned out to be a time for character building which has strengthened the company going forward.

He added that Mahindra was better able to weather the economic upheavals in SA because it was a subsidiary of the powerful and financially resilient Mahindra Group which views business from a long term perspective.

"This was a time when we supported and encouraged our dealer network to overcome the tough trading environment and laid the foundations for an outstanding partnership between Mahindra SA and the network," explained Thakur.

"In fact, only recently we were honoured at an international Mahindra conference as being among the five best distributors outside India, with our special strength being the strong bonds we have with our dealers."

CEO Thakur explained that Mahindra had been aware from the outset of the demands that the African continent makes on vehicles and had undertaken rigorous local testing before launching new models. This was the case initially when the Bolero and Scorpio SUV underwent three years of evaluation in SA before the launch of Mahindra SA in 2004.

These models were instant successes as they were affordable entrants in their respective categories, with the Scorpio SUV proving it was unnecessary to spend over R300 000 to buy a seven-seater SUV while the rugged Bolero has proved a real workhorse.

The Mahindra SA dealer network has grown exponentially since 2004 and there are now 57 outlets providing excellent coverage countrywide. Many of these dealerships are multi-franchise operations, which make them viable, while most sell both Mahindra and SsangYong vehicles.

After-sales support to both dealers and customers is critical to the Mahindra SA growth strategy. Recent examples are the opening of a dedicated technical and management training centre in Centurion and a new, state-of-the-art, paperless, parts distribution centre in Jet Park to ensure consistent parts supply to the dealer network.

Mahindra, a diverse Indian group, started manufacturing vehicles (initially the Willlys Jeep) in 1945 but was largely focused on India for many decades. Now, however, it has global ambitions and is expanding operations rapidly with Mahindra products now exported to more than 100 countries. Growth in Africa is very much part of the group's future strategy.

Mahindra's new Rise global marketing and brand building strategy has been adopted quickly in SA, aided by a strong television advertising campaign which includes a TV commercial that was conceptualised and produced by local talent, using SA infrastructure and is being screened in global markets. In addition, a TV commercial for the XUV500 was shot and produced in SA for screening in Mahindra's home market of India.

"We are fully committed to building on our strong foundations in South Africa established over the past 10 years and our main objective will be to continue to provide reliable vehicles which have low running costs to the motoring public of this country," concluded Mahindra SA CEO, Ashok Thakur. "Our efforts are strengthened by proven products backed up by an enthusiastic dealer network offering outstanding sales and after-sales support."

About Mahindra SA

Mahindra SA is a fully-owned subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra of India, distributing Mahindra and SsangYong motor vehicles in Southern Africa. The company is a full-fledged organisation operating in South Africa, leveraging on the strength of its Indian roots and 68 year history.

The company has dealers in all nine provinces of South Africa, which are full-fledged facilities that handle sales, service and spare parts. With 57 dealerships, in cities and in towns across South Africa, Mahindra has a growing national footprint that is moving ever deeper into communities as they continue in their drive to offer value-for-money products and services to their customers.

The company has also expanded into other sub-Saharan countries, currently exporting vehicles to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia. Mahindra South Africa also has a powerful network in place to ensure the effective and efficient distribution of service and replacement parts in all areas of South Africa.

Mahindra South Africa has achieved significant growth in the country since its establishment in October 2004, and since then, the company has sold a total of approximately 18 000 vehicles.

Mahindra SA has also taken over responsibility for the sales, service and parts supply for SsangYong products since April 1, 2012 in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia. There is currently a network of 38 SsangYong dealers in SA.

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About SsangYong Motor Company

SsangYong Motor has come a long way since its establishment in 1954. Its world class manufacturing facility in Korea produces a full line up of SUVs such as Rexton, Kyron, New Korando, Actyon and Actyon Sports along with Chairman W sedan and Rodius MPV. SsangYong's 5 000 are aligned to its vision to be the "Most Innovative and Respected Korean Automotive Company".

SsangYong achieved 113 000 sales in 2011, which is 40% increase from 2010.  SsangYong has a mid/long term plan to increase its sales to 160 000 units by 2013 and 300 000 units by 2016.

SsangYong has a global presence in 92 countries with 1 200 dealer points. It is developing its global network in Middle East, Africa and South America along with China and Russia. Sales in India will commence in second half of 2012

In 2011, M&M acquired 70% stake in SsangYong Motor. Both companies are cooperating on synergy areas such as platform development, global sourcing and development of international sales network.

About Mahindra

The Mahindra Group focuses on enabling people to rise through solutions that power mobility, drive rural prosperity, enhance urban lifestyles and increase business efficiency.

A USD 16.2 billion multinational group based in Mumbai, India, Mahindra employs more than 180,000 people in over 100 countries. Mahindra operates in the key industries that drive economic growth, enjoying a leadership position in tractorsutility vehiclesinformation technology and vacation ownership.

In addition, Mahindra enjoys a strong presence in the agribusiness, aerospace, components, consulting services, defence, energy, financial services, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, retail, steel, commercial vehicles and two wheeler industries.

In 2012, Mahindra featured on the Forbes Global 2000 list, a listing of the biggest and most powerful listed companies in the world. In 2013, the Mahindra Group received the Financial Times 'Boldness in Business' Award in the 'Emerging Markets' category.

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On behalf of Mahindra South Africa

Mahindra Celebrates 10 Years Of Success In SA

The CEO of Mahindra SA, Ashok Thakur (centre), receives an award for his company's achievement for being a Star performer among Mahindra's global distributors from the executive director of the Mahindra Group and president of its automotive and farming equipment sectors (AFS), Dr Pawan Goenka. Others in the photograph are the group's chief communications and ethics officer, Ruzbeh Irani (left), the chief executive of the automotive sector and international operations for AFS, Pravin Shah (fourth from left), and Mahindra SA's product and sales manager, Johannes Greyling.

E&OE, Terms and Conditions apply.
Mahindra South Africa reserves the right to change specifications, pricing and equipment without notice. Specifications may differ from the models depicted. Please consult your dealer for full details, specifications and availability