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Business
Mahindra Names New Shark-inspired MPV, the Marazzo

Mahindra’s eagerly-awaited new MPV (Multi-purpose Vehicle) model, previously known only by its code-name U321, has just been titled the ‘Marazzo’ which means shark in Basque, a sub-language of Spanish. The name reflects its shark-inspired design language which was created in collaboration with legendary Italian design house Pininfarina, which is a part of the Mahindra Group.

The design incorporates a streamlined and aerodynamic shape, smooth overall silhouette, and front grille inserts which resemble shark-like teeth adding to the vehicle’s aggressive look. The design of the tail lamps has been inspired by a shark’s tail.

Speaking at the name reveal, Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, M&M Ltd., said, “The shark-inspired Marazzo symbolizes the next generation of aspirational Mahindra vehicles. A collaborative effort of Pininfarina, the Mahindra Design Studio, Mahindra North America Technical Centre (MNATC), and Mahindra Research Valley (MRV), Marazzo is born of a vision to design a global vehicle with quality and refinement keeping in mind the aspirations of our customers.”

MNATC and MRV in Chennai have together developed this new global automotive product. The team of experts brought a new level of refinement and engineering excellence to Marazzo. The new model comes with a patented architecture that offers a unique balance of a smooth ride, agile handling, space, and a quiet cabin. Marazzo also has the largest footprint (wheelbase x front track) of any Mahindra vehicle.

Marazzo will be manufactured at the company’s manufacturing facility at Nashik and will be launched commercially by the end of Q2, FY-2019. It will come in seven and eight-seater configurations and will be packed with creature comforts and the latest infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Marazzo will also debut Mahindra’s new 1.5-liter diesel engine, likely to produce around 121 hp of power and 300 Nm of torque, which will be paired to a six-speed manual gearbox.

IN CONVERSATION

Echo spoke to Ramkripa Ananthan, Chief Designer, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., about the design language used for Marazzo at the name reveal event in Mumbai on July 31, 2018.

How did the new Marazzo come to have a shark-inspired design language?
It was a rather organic process where we evaluated customers’ opinions to get a pulse of what they were thinking. We put this information together on our mood boards, and the shark was among several images that emerged. As we approached the ideation and conception of the design, the shark resonated as the most appropriate for this market segment. The shark really matched the inspiration we had for the design of the new Marazzo. It just struck a chord.

Tell us more about how you worked with Pininfarina on this new design?
Following consumer insight and the development of a mood board, the product planning team created a brief which we took to Pininfarina and collaborated with them on developing the concept version of Marazzo. The first aspect we considered was the proportion, balance, stance, and architecture of the vehicle.

Then both Mahindra and Pininfarina began sketching and creating ideas independently. We then shortlisted sketches, renderings, and more refined result forms. Both studios made models as well. At this point, we considered how to combine the work produced by both the studios.

In the case of Marazzo, there were ideas that worked well from both the models. So, we created one, combining the features and ideas provided by both the groups. There were aspects in both the designs that fitted into the final model. I think we got the best designs in the final version of Marazzo.

What in your view is particularly special about the new Marazzo?
I think what is amazing about the new Marazzo are the interiors! While the shark inspires the exterior design, the interiors are very exciting in terms of their space, utility, comfort, features, and the materials used. It is designed to be engaging, yet very comfortable and luxurious. I think we have reached a new benchmark for Mahindra in terms of interiors.

How important is vehicle design in the consumer’s decision-making process?
I do think that design has always played a very important part in the consumer’s decision-making process, but perhaps it has now become THE criterion for purchasing a vehicle. This forces us to put emphasis, time, and effort in the design process to ensure that it is aesthetically pleasing. It has also made us more design-centric to meet this consumer need.

Has this development process become a template for future models as well?
Yes, this is definitely a template for the future in terms of working with Pininfarina at the concept stage. With respect to what the customers want in the future, that is a dynamic scenario and we have to be geared up for it. Currently, design is king, and we have to constantly be alert to understand what the future of design looks like. It is certain that we will involve Pininfarina and other global design houses to help us in this process.

Business
Mahindra Finance Q1,
FY-19 Profit Rises 34%

Mahindra Finance reported a strong financial performance in April to June 2018 driven by growth in the rural economy and a sharp focus on its customers’ needs.

During the first quarter of the current fiscal, the company’s net profit grew by 34% to over Rs. 269 crores, while total income rose to Rs. 1,939.67 crores compared to Rs. 1,508.70 crores in the same period last year.

Total Assets Under Management (AUM) stood at Rs. 58,711 crores, up from 21% the previous year. During the quarter, growth has been higher in the pre-owned and commercial vehicle segments and the company has gained market share in its lead products.

The growing confidence of its over 55 lakh customers is helping drive this growth for Mahindra Finance. From taxi drivers to farmers, from financing rural houses to giving loans to SMEs and developing innovative financial solutions, Mahindra Finance is changing lives in rural and semi-urban India.

Global
Mahindra Launches New Alfa P400 Three-Wheeler in Nigeria

For years, Mahindra has been a major player in the growth story of Africa, offering its range of products across the automotive and farm equipment sectors and providing customized solutions in the areas of farm-tech prosperity, mobility, and power generation.

The Alfa P400 three-wheeler is the latest offering by Mahindra in the mobility solutions space in Nigeria. It aims to deliver ‘Plenty Space Plenty Profit’ to its customers. The Alfa P400 is powered by a 400cc gasoline engine and comes in both passenger and cargo variants. It offers increased seating/cargo capacity, and a lower cost of maintenance that is unmatched in the market.

Arvind Mathew, Chief of International Operations, Mahindra & Mahindra, said, “The Alfa P400 is a testimony to our intent. We are launching this product across the country with due support on warranty, after-sales service, spare parts availability, and local mechanic training. We will continue to up the ante on technology and innovation to offer solutions in Nigeria that will drive positive change.”

In keeping with Mahindra’s focus on developing operations in Africa, Mahindra West Africa Ltd. was created in Nigeria in 2016. The company’s ‘Farm-To-Folk’ initiative in collaboration with the Katsina State Government addresses farm mechanization issues.

Recently, Mahindra commissioned a tractor assembly plant in Kaduna State, with a manufacturing capacity of 5,000 tractors and associated agricultural implements. It is producing a range of tractors from 25 Hp to 80 Hp.

Mahindra has also set up assembly plants in Sango Ota and Kano for two-wheelers, three-wheelers, and generator sets, that is in turn providing employment opportunities to the local manpower in these regions.

Rise for Good
MANA Helping Detroit to ‘Grow’

In the early 20th century, the American city of Detroit was a booming industrial powerhouse and world leader in automobile manufacturing. However, as the major car companies closed their factories, Detroit was left with more than 100 square kilometers of vacant land and nearly 40,000 abandoned houses.

A group of visionary residents then began sowing the seeds of an urban farming revolution. This empowered local communities by giving them access to job opportunities, education, and sustainable fresh produce. Sandwiched between diverging freeways and a few miles from the heart of Detroit’s downtown, the sprawling vegetable gardens were signs that the revolution was reaping a rich harvest.

Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) has been a part of this sovereign food movement. This year, MANA’s involvement got a boost when Mahindra Urban Agriculture Grant Program 2018, in its fourth year, disbursed USD 127,000 in funding and equipment to eight Southeast Michigan nonprofits in Detroit. The funding was announced at Grant Celebration and Benefit Concert at Detroit's iconic Lafayette Greens.

“Mahindra is committed to empowering and celebrating the communities in which we operate,” says Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group. “There are few better examples of our Rise philosophy in action than the work Mahindra Automotive North America is doing in Detroit. MANA’s pioneering Urban Agriculture Grant Program continues to empower Detroit residents by giving them access to fresh, sustainable produce, and inspiring work opportunities for the underserved.”

This year’s recipients were: The Greening of Detroit—the largest tree-planting operation in Detroit for over 40 years, Eastern Market—a historic downtown Detroit farmer’s market that will now be using Mahindra vehicles to transport produce, and The Boggs Educational Center—a dynamic and diverse K-8 school that fosters student learning through, compassionate, and sustainable farming practices.

“It’s an honor to be affiliated with each of our urban agriculture grant recipients,” says Richard Haas, MANA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Their services are truly making a difference and we couldn’t be prouder of the impact the company’s support is having on increasing accessibility to fresh, nutritious produce at affordable prices to residents throughout the city of Detroit and in Pontiac.”

Since the initiation of the program in 2015, Mahindra has donated more than USD 425,000 in cash and farm equipment to 13 nonprofits in support of sustainable farming and gardening in Detroit and Pontiac. Groups that have received Mahindra grants or equipment over the past three years have grown and distributed more than a million pounds of fresh food to Detroit residents. Mahindra grant funding has also been channelized for other purposes including installation of software that enables purchasers to use state-issued EBT cards and development of a prototype irrigation system for small gardeners.

Tweet of the Week

SP Shukla‏, Group President and CEO, Mahindra Aerospace and Defence

All of us at @Mahindra_Aero wish them both safe and happy #flying round the world. May these young #pilots inspire Indian youth & specially our many @NanhiKali's.

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