M&M eyes strategic partnership in EV biz, no Covid impact on launch plans

Homegrown auto major Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) is looking for strategic partners for its electric vehicles business in order to further scale it up, a top company official said on Friday.

The auto major, which reported a 94 per cent decline in consolidated profit at Rs 54.64 crore for the June quarter, also said there is no impact of Covid-19 on its EV launch plans.


The automaker has invested significant capital in the segment and that gives it confidence to find partners, M&M Managing Director Pawan Goenka told reporters in a conference call.


To a query on whether it was open to partnerships in the EV business, Goenka said, "We are open to it and working on it. We currently are engaged with multiple interested parties to invest in Mahindra Electric and the process is going on."


"We have invested in Bangalore, and just completed investing in Chakan for high range of batteries. We are fairly well invested and that gives us advantage in India which would be driving growth in the segment going ahead," he noted.


He said the company has many products on the ground and there are new launches planned over the next 12 months as well.


"So finding partners for Mahindra Electric won''t be such a difficult task as it would be for some other companies," Goenka emphasised.

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He said M&M is keen on becoming a significant player in the EV space with Mahindra Electric on one side and its Italy-based arm Automobili Pininfarina (APF) with its high-end models on the other end.


Goenka said M&M is also evaluating to further extend the APF product portfolio going ahead.


The launch of the first super sports car from the APF stable, Battista, which was to happen this year, has now been moved to next year due to the Covid-19 scenario.


M&M also said it is seeking investors for its Korean arm SsangYong Motor Company  (SYMC).


"We are looking for investors for SYMC as we have decided not to further invest in it. The South Korean firm is in dialogue with certain investors and we will be announcing that at an appropriate time on the status of those investors," Goenka said.


The M&M board had decided on April 3 this year that the company will not make any further investment in SYMC other than $32 million to help the Korean firm tide over the immediate fund requirements.

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On the domestic business, M&M Executive Director - Automotive and Farm Sectors, Rajesh Jejurikar said demand is very robust in tractors and the only challenge is to manage the supply chain disruptions.


On the 80 per cent drop in automotive revenue in the first quarter, he said, "With that kind of drop in revenue, anyone would come under pressure. We, though, believe that we have done better than all our peers. Our performance has been pretty robust in context of 80 per cent drop in revenue."


Goenka said he does not foresee any dark clouds on the tractor side but challenges do remain in the passenger vehicle segment.


"On the auto side, ramp up is somewhat more difficult due to the complexity that we have in supply chain," he added.


The picture would be clear in the next three-four months as in how fast the company would be able to ramp up its production, Goenka said.


On increasing competition in the domestic market, Jejurikar said the company is confident of a good show going ahead with its upcoming range of products.