Mahindra and Mahindra: Driving the change in India’s automotive industry : Cover Story

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MG Arun


M&M | Established in 1945

The origin

Starting life as a steel trading company in Ludhiana in 1945, M&M was then Mahindra & Mohammed, the company had been founded by brothers K.C. and J.C. Mahindra and their partner, Malik Ghulam Mohammed. But after India became independent, Ghulam Mohammed emigrated to Pakistan, becoming that country’s first finance minister. Soon after, in 1948, the company was renamed Mahindra & Mahindra.

Stepping stone

Mahindra & Mahindra’s growth story is closely linked to the development of India’s own automotive industry, especially when it comes to the multi-utility (MUV) and sports utility vehicle (SUV) segments. The company then saw a business opportunity in the larger MUV segment, eventually expanding into the manufacture and sale of such vehicles. This phase of its business activity began with M&M gaining the licence to assemble the Willys Jeep in India in 1947. Soon established as the foremost Jeep manufacturer in India, the company leveraged its experience with vehicles of this class and began to manufacture light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and agricultural tractors. Over the past few years, M&M has also taken a keen interest in new industries and in foreign markets. In India, it entered the two-wheeler segment by taking over Kinetic Motors. M&M also has a controlling stake in the REVA Electric Car Company, and in 2011, acquired South Korea’s SsangYong Motor Company. In 2010-11, the company also made a foray into the micro drip irrigation sector with the takeover of EPC Industries in Nashik. Meanwhile, the $19 billion Mahindra Group, of which M&M is one part, also has commercial interests in aerospace, auto components, defence, financial services, IT and hospitality.

Leading role

The current chairman of the Mahindra Group, Anand Mahindra, has also served on the board of India’s National Stock Exchange and the World Bank Group’s advisory board for doing business. M&M is currently led by managing director Pawan Goenka, who first joined the group as general manager for R&D. During this time, he was closely involved in the development of the Scorpio, India’s first indigenously built suburban utility vehicle.

DID YOU KNOW?: Mahindra & Mahindra began importing the Willys Jeep which saw a great deal of use during the Second World War in 1947

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