Mumbai: India’s largest maker of utility vehicles, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd (M&M), plans to increase its share in the light commercial vehicles market by launching new variants of its sub-one-tonne mini-truck Maxximo.
“We will be launching other variants on the Maxximo platform over time,” M&M’s automotive and farm equipment sector president Pawan Goenka said in an email response. “I can’t give any details on what type of variants and when.”
According to two of its suppliers, who declined to be identified because of confidentiality issues, M&M will launch a passenger carrier and a goods carrier with at least a one-tonne payload on the Maxximo platform in four-six months.
The 8-10 seater passenger carrier will be positioned in the multipurpose vehicle (MPV) segment, one of the persons Mint spoke to said.
The carrier will go up against Maruti Suzuki India Ltd’s Omni and Eeco, which control 80% of the market, and Tata Motors Ltd’s Magic.
MPV sales in April rose 34% from the year-ago period, fuelled by the need to offer feeder services for shorter distances in urban and semi-urban areas.
Other firms such as Tata Motors are also looking to expand their presence in this segment. The company will launch its four-wheeler Magic Iris later this year to take on three-wheel passenger carriers.
M&M’s over-one-tonne mini-truck is targeted at the goods carrier segment, largely to plug the last-mile gap in the supply chain. Sales of sub-one-tonne trucks have been growing at 46% annually since fiscal 2006 to fiscal 2010, during which 137,000 units were sold.
Sales in M&M’s light commercial vehicle segment, which also includes three-wheelers, went up 97% in April to 5,876 units from 2,972 in the corresponding period last fiscal, after it launched two mini-trucks in October 2009 and February.
“Growth in consumption spending, restricted movement of larger trucks within the cities, coupled with better cost economics and status symbol quotient offered by the mini-trucks have made them the preferred choice over the three-wheelers,” said Manoj Mohta, head of research at domestic ratings agency Crisil Ltd