It was rather inspirational to see so many XUV500’s at the Buddh International Circuit this race-weekend. For, after decades of just being associated with monotonously motored quasi-rickshaws to ferry goods from farms to warehouses and markets, Mahindra has not only managed to discover a niche but has managed to stake its claim.
Like ‘Godrej’ to the FMCG sector, Mahindra, over the last few years has undergone its own version of an image makeover, and made its foray into a new market. With a clever mix of fresh automotive products (the Scorpio, the Logan and now the XUV500), some vibrant rebranding (Raid the Himalaya’s and Mahindra – Rise) and some focused media attention (a significant increase in face time between Anand Mahindra and the media); the Group has managed to dexterously shift the public’s focus from its ‘agricultural transport’ image and make Mahindra one of the most popular SUV brands in India.
Similar to the Tata Group who also, many years ago, realised the need to shed their ‘transportation’ image and move into the personal-automobile space, the Mahindra’s too, realised the need to target new segments. The only difference being, while the Tata Group – through a serious of costly trial and errors managed to find their niche in small sedans and hatchbacks, Mahindra – after introducing the Scorpio and the Logan, were quicker to realise which side their bread was buttered. Mahindra’s success with the Scorpio had incidentally led to their discovery of a further niche within a niche. So instead of targeting maximum market share through various car segments, the company focused on ‘affordable SUVs that could actually perform off road’!
Today, Mahindra’s first ‘global’ off roader, the XUV500 has been generating rave reviews, with over 9,000 pre-bookings in just 10 days. And with ‘Raid the Himalayas’ being one of the most popular events around the world, its safe to finally say – brand Mahindra is no longer simple and rural, its downright suburban and very rugged.