Faridabad, Haryana: Tractor to multi-utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M) is assessing plans to get into manufacturing of small aircraft but will concentrate on naval and land systems currently for which it has a launched new facility on the outskirts of New Delhi, its vice-chairman Anand Mahindra said here.
“We are currently working with NAL (National Aerospace Laboratories) in their project to design a turboprop plane and at the right time we will assess whether or not to go into the manufacturing,” said Mahindra.
Three years ago, the group acquired an 88.41% stake in Bangalore-based Plexion Technologies, which offers design aerospace and high-end engineering services. Plexion was then merged with Mahindra Engineering Services.
Just in: M&M vice-chairman Anand Mahindra. Rajkumar / Mint
“If you look at the group, we tend to go into any area first through engineering and make sure we have product know-how,” said Mahindra, who was talking on the sidelines of inaugurating the Mahindra Special Military Vehicles facility at Prithla in Faridabad, adding that the Plexion acquisition has given it the “expertise in aerospace engineering” capability.
The new Faridabad facility, spread across six acres, developed partially with a Rs25 crore investment, will assemble around 200 specialized vehicles for the Armed Forces, paramilitary forces and police for the current fiscal, taking the number to 350 in the next.
It will also produce bullet-proof versions of the company’s Scorpio and Bolero multi-utility vehicles.
Khutub Hai, chief executive officer of the Mahindra Defence Systems division, who would run the new facility, said the company may look at expanding a similar venture to Africa depending on demand. He did not specify a time frame.
Talking about the company’s core automobile business, Mahindra said he expects to see better sales in March, the strongest month for the auto industry.
But, he said, numbers emanating May-end will help understand if this would be “truly a sustained recovery” for the sector in India.
Mahindra also rubbished talks of rifts in its business relationship with Renault SA. “Nothing is on the rocks, we will continue to make the Logan,” he said of the car made in a joint venture with the French auto maker.