In the early 2000s, the late CEO of Mahindra Tractors, Gautam Nagwekar was wondering what to focus on next. He had asked his company to achieve the impossible, becoming the world’s no. 1 tractor company and they were close to achieving it. Now, it was up to Gautam to set the next impossible goal for the team.
His mind wandered to the images that he and his team had seen many times. Poor farmers tilling their fields by hand or struggling behind a plough pulled by bullocks.
So, he gave a challenge to his team to build a tractor that could replace a pair of bullocks and increase the productivity for small farmers.
At that time, Mahindra was the proud creator of MKM engines, with an unbeatable fuel efficiency that flabbergasted the competition. But creating a small engine, with the same efficiency, at the cost targets given, seemed impossible.
But the will to create mechanization for the marginalized farmer drove the team to persevere. They consulted other engine makers, they forced themselves to study and learn from machines being made in backstreets and makeshift garages. Ultimately, they zoned in on the engineering work done by a small company who created 30 tractors a month.
The conversion of the existing engine from air-cooled to water-cooled, and the subsequent Mahindra intervention led to an engine not only 5-6 times more efficient than any other tractor on the market but, it led to a tractor which was more fuel efficient per kilometer than most motorbikes. This was essential to making the annual cost of these tractors less than owning and maintaining a pair of bullocks.
Several other innovations ultimately led to the creation of Yuvraj 215 tractor. Mahindra’s vision was to empower the farmer that had small land holdings and Yuvraj was a testament to that commitment.
The Yuvraj 215 was launched in 2010 at a price far cheaper than competition. In the first 4 years, it sold 50,000 units, making it the fastest growing model in the Indian market at the time. Since then, it has helped thousands of farmers prosper across India.