Davos: Vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd is not interested in buying either General Motors Corp’s Hummer brand or Ford Motor Co’s Swedish car brand Volvo, a top executive said on Tuesday.
“We don’t want to acquire other problems,” vice chairman Anand Mahindra told Reuters on the sidelines of the meeting of the World Economic Forum, but he did not rule out other buys.
“What we will look for is brands and distribution, if we can acquire them cheaply.”
General Motors and Ford are trying to sell Hummer and Volvo to help them raise cash in the face of slumping sales.
Mahindra said Volvo was a great company with a great brand, but added it was not “affordable and digestible.”
On Hummer, he said the brand had unfortunately come to stand for criticism of sports utility vehicles.
“We’re against gas guzzling and non-environmentaly friendly. We want to position our vehicles as guilt-free SUVs,” he said, adding that from next month all Mahindra’s utility vehicles would have microhybrid technology as a default option, making them 5% to 7% more fuel efficient.
He noted that Mahindra, which plans to enter the US market with its SUVs this year, hoped to profit from the fact that smaller, fuel-efficient SUVs were one part of the US industry that was bucking the downturn.
Back home, he saw the Indian car market recovering in about three months, although commercial vehicles could take longer to turn around.
Mahindra said the slowdown in the Indian car industry in the last six to 12 months had been self-inflicted, rather than due to the global slowdown, because of higher interest rates that dampened consumer spending.
“There is tremendous latent demand in India,” he said, adding there were lines outside dealerships for a low-price minivan Mahindra launched two weeks ago, with the first month’s production already sold out.
The company is the Indian partner of Renault, with whom it makes the Logan low-cost car.