Tractor Pull

Mahindra’s Farm Equipment Sector (FES) continued showing growth for the second consecutive month with its June sales of 35,844 tractors representing a 12% growth compared to the same month last year. This is particularly creditable given the very challenging operating conditions in the market due to the ongoing pandemic.

Commenting on the performance, Hemant Sikka, President - Farm Equipment Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. said, “This is our second highest June sales ever. The timely arrival of the south west monsoon, the benefits of a record Rabi crop, Government support for Agri initiatives and very good progress in the sowing of the Kharif crop have led to positive sentiments among farmers.

These underlying factors along with better cash flows in rural markets have helped boost tractor demand during June. It is expected that this demand will continue to remain buoyant in the coming months. In the exports market, we have sold 700 tractors”.

Total tractor sales (Domestic + Exports) during June 2020 were 36,544 units, as against 33,094 units for the same period last year. Domestic sales during the month were at 35,844 units, as against 31,879 units during June 2019.

Sparking EV Growth

With the Indian EV industry poised for recovery, Mahindra Electric will continue with its plans to launch three new products this financial year. Showcased at the Auto Expo 2020 this February, the Mahindra eKUV100 will be India’s most affordable electric car that will go on sale in the next few months.

This will be followed by the launch of Treo Zor an electric load carrier. The Mahindra Atom a unique mobility solution, that has the potential to transform India’s last and first mile commute is also slated to launch in 4Q of this financial year. Mahindra sold over 14,000 electric vehicles last year.

Encouraged by the demand for the Treo electric auto and Treo Yaari electric rickshaw, the company is now set to launch a load carrier, the Treo Zor by the end of the year. “There is high potential for an electric auto load carrier for e-commerce and last mile delivery. Therefore, we are looking at launching the Treo Zor, an electric load carrier by the end of this year”, said Mahesh Babu, MD and CEO, Mahindra Electric in a recent media interview.

The electric autos segment has recovered to about 40-50% of pre-Covid levels. The company will continue to focus on electric autos as they make economic sense for their customers, Babu said. However, the focus on three-wheelers would not come at the cost of other electric products. Mahindra Electric has not reduced or pulled back any investments despite the ongoing crisis.

Stating that India’s EV industry was poised for a recovery, Mr. Babu said, “The EV sector has localized much faster than the internal combustion engine industry.” Underscoring the ‘Made in India’ element, he pointed out that, “A lot of value addition has already gone into electric vehicles. Barring the battery cell, almost all components of the Treo range are Made in India.”

The big positive for EVs is that they have no tail-pipe emissions. The lockdown has made people experience the benefits of cleaner air. There is a co-relation between air pollution and viruses. Air pollution affects the lungs and makes people more susceptible to viruses. EVs therefore can play an important role in ensuring cleaner air for everyone. The emphasis on safety including social distancing will also drive people to purchase their own vehicle for commuting to work and this would also help drive EV demand in the future.

First Choice on the Front Foot

The pandemic and its associated risks with the use of public transport is expected to fuel the demand for pre-owned cars in the coming months and years. To meet this surge in demand, the Mahindra Group’s pre-owned cars retail company Mahindra First Choice Wheels just announced the launch of 34 retail stores in smaller cities and towns across Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Puducherry, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The new stores were launched virtually following all the relevant social distancing norms that were in place at the time.

“Launching these new stores reflects the buoyed sentiment of consumers and the trust that the used car dealers’ community has shown in our brand,” said Ashutosh Pandey, CEO & MD, Mahindra First Choice Wheels. These stores will offer all the facilities and services that the brand represents – used car sales, 118-point inspection to offer the actual car value to a consumer looking to sell their car, warranty on Mahindra-certified pre-owned cars, easy finance and hassle-free RTO transfers, etc.

The company has a wide 950 store network comprising franchisee partners, as well as outlets which provide exchange facilities and used-car services. The launch of 34 new stores during this period will not only help MFCWL meet the anticipated demand for used cars, as the lockdown eases, but also substantiate the company’s commitment towards growth, despite challenging conditions. With the market improving rapidly, June was a better month for sales compared to April or May. In fact, the company achieved 70 per cent of its June 2019 sales during this June.

Used car dealers who sign up with the company have a range of benefits including the association with the Mahindra First Choice brand which helps drive more walk-ins, MFC certified cars, warranties on certified cars that drive customer trust, access to digital leads and a guaranteed online presence on MFC’s web-sites, along with professional lead management software and sales training.

All this was possible because MFCWL adapted rapidly to the changing scenario and developed new skills and teams such as website building (under their current Digital 360 arm), which can be used to create websites for dealers for both new and pre-owned passenger vehicles. In addition, a new remote dealer management app helps area managers to manage dealers without field visits.

Bridging New Divides

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted education like no other crises before it. Since March 2020, the education of nearly 300 million students, especially those from underprivileged sections, have been affected. To address the scenario, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with Wipro organized a webinar called ‘Conversation 2.0- Covid19 Social Impact: Solution Ideas on Nurturing Education – During Pandemic and Beyond’ on June 10.

Sheetal Mehta, Executive Director, KC Mahindra Education Trust, and SVP, Corporate Social Responsibility, Mahindra & Mahindra, attended the webinar. Rishikesh BS, Professor, Azim Premji University; Vijay K Thadani, Former Chairman, CII National Committee on Higher Education, and Vice Chairman and MD, NIIT Ltd, also participated.

Ms. Mehta stressed the need for embedding digital learning into India’s education system. “Schools will need to equip themselves with learning technology because it is only through these tools that children will learn,” she said.

Focusing on the gender divide and how it deprives girls of a quality education, Ms. Mehta said, research has shown that underprivileged girls are often the ones that are left behind. And this is the sphere in which Nanhi Kali – a Mahindra Foundation Initiative, is striving to make a difference.

Nanhi Kali was founded in 1996 with the aim of educating underprivileged girls from Std. I-X. The initiative offers after-school academic support as well as an annual school supplies kit that includes books, shoes, socks, and even sanitary napkins to allow underprivileged girls to attend school with dignity. Nanhi Kali provides 360-degree support to 160,000 girls across 20 locations in 4,000 government schools in eight states. It has so far supported over 400,000 girls.

To bolster education efforts, Nanhi Kali will soon be signing an MoU with ‘Educational Initiatives’, a leading Ed-Tech company, which will allow girls students access to a learning software called ‘Mindspark’. This personalised software allows each student to learn at their own pace. The curriculum has been made available in 9 different languages. The organisation will also ensure that every child has a tablet.

Nanhi Kali has drawn support not only from the Mahindra Group, which is its largest supporter, but also from other corporates including Titan, Hindustan Petroleum, Saint Gobain, PNB MetLife, Standard Chartered Bank and SAP. It is also committed to doubling investments into this initiative after the pandemic subsides.

  Tweet of the Week

Pawan Goenka

My deepest gratitude to all the Mahindra COVID-19 warriors. Together you have distributes 2.5L meals, 4.0 L Face shields, 12 L masks, and 600 Aerosol boxes (to 60 hospitals). The war with Covid is not over yet. We will win. You need to keep going. @MahindraRise

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