Oct 18, 2008

Business - India;M&M to launch Ingenio by year end

The much awaited multi purpose vehicle (MPV) from Mahindra & Mahindra will hit the road end of the year. The MPV, named Ingenio, will be produced out of Nashik plant and will be a completely new platform. The company is considering a few brand names to christen Ingenio and will be finalising the brand name very soon. Further, the launch of seven seater variant of Logan has been indefinitely postponed given the tight credit squeeze in the market.

Pawan Goenka, President (automotive sector), M&M, said the MPV will be launched end of December and the name Ingenio which is the project name will be shortlisted soon.

“We have a few brand names in mind along with the name Ingenio. The name will be frozen shortly,” said Mr Goenka. He added that it could well go ahead with the name Ingenio, similar to what M&M did when it launched Scorpio. Mr Goenka refused to elaborate on the configuration of Ingenio.

On whether the current turbulence in the market will affect M&M's expansion plans and the planned product launches, Mr Goenka said that there is no deviation in the long term plans. “The Chakan plant work is on full swing and all product development is on schedule. The short term concerns are not stopping us from achieving the long term objectives.”However, the short term pressures definitely have got the company to tweak its planned foray into the US, taking its MPV and SUV into what is the world's largest automobile market. Mr Goenka said while there's no re-think on the US foray, the situation has prompted some re-adjustment. “One might have to take a call on the pricing position keeping in mind the input costs and lack of credit available to consumers," he said.

On an optimistic note, Goenka said that as market out there shifts from large gas guzzling SUVs to more fuel efficient SUVs, M&M, with its product offering, stands to gain. "We are looking at 10,000-15,000 units which are miniscule portion of overall auto market, but it's a big number for us," he stated.

Meanwhile, the seven seater variant of Logan launch has been deferred indefinitely. The variant (R 90 variant) was supposed to be the second offering under the Logan platform, but Mr Goenka said that it has been put on hold till market conditions improve.

“The right volume-investment mix is not justified. The volume we estimate in the current market conditions is not giving us the confidence of launching the variant," he said.

Even as Logan variant under the Mahindra-Renault (51:49) JV has been deferred, Goenka said that another variant (B 90), out of the Logan platform will come out of the Chennai plant been set up by Renault-Nissan for which M&M is in discussion with Renault for distribution of B 90. "Talks are still on," he remarked.

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