Mahindra International, the joint venture (JV) between Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (M&M) and International Truck & Engine Corp. of the US, will start operations with the launch of a 25 tonne truck in the fastest-growing segment of the truck market.
The heavy-trucks segment grew by 70% in 2006-07 to 1.46 lakh units on the back of a court ruling that prevented overloading and increasing adoption of the hub-and-spoke model of transportation by fleet operators where goods are moved between cities on heavy trucks and within cities on small sub-four tonne trucks.
Mahindra International’s first products will be the heavy truck and a nine tonne bus that is being designed for the export market, said people close to the development who did not wish to be identified. One of these people added that the company has started sampling components from vendors for the two products and that it has set a target of having at least 10 prototypes ready by the end of May so as to freeze the design of the vehicles.
The person close to the development said that work on both models is going on at the company’s research centre at Pune. Both products are expected to be launched before the end of 2007.
A company spokesperson said they would not comment.
Last year, Mahindra International had announced that it would target a 15% share of a market, where 4.2 lakh trucks were sold in 2006-07, in the next five to six years.
In 2005, M&M had signed a 51:49 JV with International Truck and Engine Corp. to manufacture 70,000 units of light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles at a new plant that is to come up in Pune.
M&M also has a partnership with Renault SA for the Logan passenger car, and a JV with Renault and Nissan for a new line of cars.
The JV is yet to get land for the plant because of shortage of space in the city.
An official of the Maharashtra government, who did not wish to be identified, said that land would be allotted to the company in the next two months after the government completed the process of acquiring additional land at Chakan, the region’s new auto hub.
“The company might initially use M&M’s light commercial vehicles factory at Zaheerabad (in Andhra Pradesh) till it gets possession of the Chakan land and completes work on it,” the official added.
M&M has transferred its commercial vehicles business and line of light commercial vehicles manufactured at Zaheerabad to Mahindra International as one part of its contribution towards the new venture.