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Nov 13, 2017 02:48 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

M&M to inaugurate plant in US on November 20, to make off-road vehicles

The plant based in Detroit, which would reportedly be the first in the region in more than 25 years, would make vehicles that are suited for off-roading

Swaraj Baggonkar @swarajsb
 
 
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Utility-vehicle specialist Mahindra & Mahindra will inaugurate its first manufacturing plant based in the US next week which will make off-road vehicles targeted only for that market.

The plant based in Detroit, which would reportedly be the first in the region in more than 25 years, would make vehicles that are suited for off-roading. Mahindra presently sells load-hauling, four-wheeled, utility vehicles in the US under the brand mBrand XTV.

Speaking to Moneycontrol News on the sidelines of announcing the company’s second quarter financials, Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra said, “This is a plant for making off-road vehicles not SUV. These are the vehicles which are not meant for highways. These have a different requirement and a different regulation in the US.”

M&M has chosen to develop a new product from scratch for the venture, tapping the expertise of its local development centre based in Michigan. But the company has used the platforms of one of its current products as a base.

“We are not taking any of our current products to Detroit. This product is developed in Detroit (but) taking one of the Mahindra products as the base and developed there and launching only for that market”, added Goenka.

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The Mumbai-based company has been looking to enter the US market with its passenger vehicles, such as Scorpio pick-ups and sports utility vehicles, since the past several years. The company even appointed a dealer network of 350 dealers. However, those plans never worked out and the company eventually aborted its mission.

After the take-over of Korean SUV expert SsangYong Motor Company in 2010 it was widely expected that Mahindra may try to piggy back on it to drive into the US. While Ssangyong still has the US on its horizon and has set the deadline of 2019 it remains unclear whether M&M will launch its SUVs in the US market.

In 2013, M&M set an engineering center engaged in design and development of vehicles. This center employs more than 100 engineers. One of the first products of the center was the fully-electric scooter GenZe that has gone ahead of a full commercial launch in that market.

Mahindra already has a well-established network of tractor dealerships through which it retails tractors with horse power ranging from 22bhp to 105bhp. The US market is one of the biggest markets for tractors outside India for Mahindra & Mahindra.
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