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Old 11th December 2019, 21:12   #1
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Default Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

The group entered two-wheelers after buying out Kinetic Motors in July 2008 and relaunched the 'Freedom' bikes under the label of 'Mojo' but has not been able to make a mark in the vastly entry-model driven two-wheeler space in the country even after a decade.
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MUMBAI: Anand Mahindra, the chairman of the homegrown auto group Mahindra & Mahindra, on Wednesday admitted that entering the commuter bike segment more than a decade ago was a failure on the part of the group.

"We knew our dream well and we had the right things, but how to win is where we went wrong. We should have never gone to the commuter bike side," Mahindra said, speaking at an event organised by British carrier Virgin Atlantic on looking at 'business as an adventure'.

"Failure is hard to swallow. You have to go inside, and begin investing again. 'dar ke aage jeet hai', beyond the fear lies victory. That is just not a slogan. If we really go inside internally, and we as a nation have a great tradition to understand how to go inside, we find strength," he said.

He declined to answer specific questions on industry doyen Rahul Bajaj's comments on fear among corporate leaders, and also one on his opinion of bankers.

Mahindra said an entrepreneur has to take risks and termed the same as "fun", and that time has come for us to look beyond bottom-lines and into multi-stakeholder capitalism.
Full article at: ET Auto
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Old 12th December 2019, 00:27   #2
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Default re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

What I believe is Mahindra mojo is still one of the top contenders in the commuter segment.

That's not a small bike at all; with a USD, FI, Pirelli tyres, dual exhaust, it was pretty much a thing that could be anyone's desire. I'd say it was the marketing team which could have done far better.

Last edited by navin : 12th December 2019 at 11:30. Reason: 14 typos.
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Old 12th December 2019, 08:13   #3
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Default re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

Mahindra is basically a good company.

But instead of wasting time in the two-wheeler segment, they could have spent that money and time and re-imagined the Mahindra Thar/ Jeep ground up the way BMW did for Mini Cooper, and JLR did for the Land Rover New Defender, Toyota for the FJ Cruiser and the way Jeep itself did for Jeep Wrangler. And of course Suzuki in its New Jimny!


They always had a strong equity in the UV segment. They lost the Jeep License in the early 2000’s, but their bread and butter have always come from this segment, so they should have done more in it.

Everyone knew, looking at the International market, that greater FE, Safety, and other features were going to become the norm.
No consumer is going to be “fobbed off” with a substandard antediluvian product in modern times.

They could have easily spent some money on their own “Performance” or “Custom” division to take that seriously and staffed it up nicely with good designers (also because they own Pininfarina now).

They could easily have brought in a slew of smaller feature-loaded, functional Crossovers and SUV’s from Ssangyong, which they own, much earlier than they did. This way, they would have been easily able to even out the game with the competition in the form of Hyundai and Maruti and Kia and MG, etc.

I think M&M have been guilty of resting on their laurels these last 10-15 years. They could easily have done a lot more than they have. That is why they are paying the price today in the consumer’s mind share and wallet share space!

Last edited by navin : 12th December 2019 at 11:34. Reason: typos and formatting
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Old 12th December 2019, 09:27   #4
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

I think their trucks business is a mistake as well. He didnt choose to mention this because I guess 2 wheelers were a bigger failure than Trucks.

One of the better corporate leaders in India. Currently he may have better brand equity than Ratan Tata, thanks to his activity on Twitter!
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Old 12th December 2019, 13:46   #5
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

Takes a big man to admit it so publicly.

The problem with Mahindra is, they want to do everything, and then end up doing nothing really well. So many of their businesses are failures = two-wheelers, commercial vehicles, they have something going on in marine and what not.

Entering segments for the heck of it spreads them too thin. Case in point = Marazzo. SEXY car, so sorted that I found it hard to believe it's a Mahindra. Looked at its sales recently? Barely selling 1,000 units / month (and not even that in some). The car is largely ignored by the senior management who are busy fanning other fires. They simply have no time for the Marazzo.

Instead, it'll be better if Mahindra does just a few things, and does them EXCEEDINGLY well.
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Old 12th December 2019, 13:56   #6
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

Quote:
Originally Posted by MechPrasad View Post
What I believe is Mahindra mojo is still one of the top contenders in the commuter segment.
I have very different opinion, it's heavy for its engine, very much under powerd, no character and looks more like jugad bike, not sure which category it belongs to.
Many people in Bangalore bought this and loaded it further with iron frame here n there with so called pannier, "faag" lights etc to give a feel of mini adv bike.
Good that they realize their mistake.
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Old 12th December 2019, 14:08   #7
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

Quote:
Originally Posted by MechPrasad View Post
What I believe is Mahindra mojo is still one of the top contenders in the commuter segment.

That's not a small bike at all; with a USD, FI, Pirelli tyres, dual exhaust, it was pretty much a thing that could be anyone's desire. I'd say it was the marketing team which could have done far better.
Nope.
The marketing team would have achieved nothing.
Not with those weird looks.

I do Agree that looks are subjective. But, honestly, I have seen very few admirers of that face.

Last edited by abhishek46 : 12th December 2019 at 14:10.
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Old 12th December 2019, 14:18   #8
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Takes a big man to admit it so publicly.

The problem with Mahindra is, they want to do everything, and then end up doing nothing really well.

Entering segments for the heck of it spreads them too thin. Case in point = Marazzo. SEXY car, so sorted that I found it hard to believe it's a Mahindra. The car is largely ignored by the senior management who are busy fanning other fires. They simply have no time for the Marazzo.

Instead, it'll be better if Mahindra does just a few things, and does them EXCEEDINGLY well.

I absolutely agree.
One cannot be Everything to Everyone.
And YES, the Marazzo is an excellent vehicle. Good design too. It could be a hard contender against the long ruling and underserving Innova. But as you say, their Management is too busy running around to be focussed.
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Old 12th December 2019, 15:19   #9
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

Quote:
Originally Posted by MechPrasad View Post
... with a USD, FI, Pirelli tyres, dual exhaust, it was pretty much a thing that could be anyone's desire.

I'd say it was the marketing team which could have done far better.
Food For Thought: Just by having access to the Best Ingredients doesn't mean that you can cook a Sumptuous Dish.
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Old 12th December 2019, 16:01   #10
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Instead, it'll be better if Mahindra does just a few things, and does them EXCEEDINGLY well.
Well said. Some corporations can manage to dip their feet in various waters and still hold steady, some can't. to Mr. Mahindra for publicly accepting some of their missteps. I do wonder what role he personally played/plays in decision-making within his portfolio companies.

I guess it comes with the package but he's become the target for a lot of trolls. He says anything on Twitter and there'll be a barrage of comments, "Arre, Mr. Mahindra, forget this, fix the abc or xyz that is wrong".

Coming to this specific case; Activa and Splendor have so ruthlessly targeted this segment that any other product have an uphill task from the time they're on the drawing board.
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Old 13th December 2019, 08:50   #11
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

Quote:
Originally Posted by MechPrasad View Post
What I believe is Mahindra mojo is still one of the top contenders in the commuter segment.

That's not a small bike at all; with a USD, FI, Pirelli tyres, dual exhaust, it was pretty much a thing that could be anyone's desire. I'd say it was the marketing team which could have done far better.
The marketing was done right, it was the looks and the fact that there was a Mahindra badge on the tank.
I had taken part in one of their marketing rides back then and rode the bike for a good 100 kms. It was a capable cruiser, but I just hated the way it looked, not to forget the name of the bike.

I feel Mahindra tries too hard to make a difference by naming their vehicles and designing them so they stand out, but more often, it does not work in our market.

In the case of Jawa, they retained the original look of those bikes, which helped.
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Old 13th December 2019, 11:47   #12
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Takes a big man to admit it so publicly.

The problem with Mahindra is, they want to do everything, and then end up doing nothing really well. So many of their businesses are failures = two-wheelers, commercial vehicles, they have something going on in marine and what not.
Add to that they were also getting into commercial aviation and i remember a full page ad on Mahindra Aviation in the newspapers long time back. No idea what came of it.
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Old 13th December 2019, 12:20   #13
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

They could have launched 150 cc scooter based on Kinetic Nova but gave us Gutso in a super confusing advertisement.
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Old 13th December 2019, 12:59   #14
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

After so many iterations (and burning a lot of money), they have done a good thing with the Jawa brand. All other scooters and bikes that I saw earlier were either ugly or getting lost in the crowd.
Mahindra's Mojo and Bajaj's Dominar are confused bikes and that is what hurt their sales despite being competent.

The Marazzo is a competent product like most Mahindra vehicles, but the asking price was a little higher. Not saying that they should have kept it less, but it put customers in a territory where they can explore more premium options. Then, there is the Ertiga which satiates the need for a 7 seater pretty well.
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Old 13th December 2019, 13:02   #15
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Default Re: Anand Mahindra says entering the commuter 2-wheeler space was a mistake

Mahindra's approach is similar to a guy at an all you can eat buffet. They load up their plates with all that is on offer. Midway through the meal, they don't quite know what to do so they waste the food.

The analogy- look at their acquisitions. Kinetic, Ssangyong, Pininfarina. All very good for headlines and Anand Mahindra's twitter handle. But do they make business sense? Moreover, if they really have Management depth, one of the acquisitions should have clicked. All are foundering.

This brings us to the fundamental question of Indian OEM's. They have just not invested enough in strong products. Mahindra has some very good models that should have been refreshed/updated. However, they continue to sell these models with cosmetic changes.

Another thing that puzzles me is their product portfolio. What were they thinking when they launched models like Quanto & KUV? They need to rationalize their model line-up and be a strong contender in UV's. At present even Johnny-come-lately's like Kia are eating their lunch in this segment.

I am all for Indian OEM's doing well. But Mahindra has to sort out their muddled approach first.
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