Industry Talk Filling White Spaces
Commercial Vehicle|November 2021
IN AN INDUSTRY TALK WITH CV SESSION, JALAJ GUPTA, BUSINESS HEAD, COMMERCIAL VEHICLES, MAHINDRA & MAHINDRA LTD. AND DR VENKAT SRINIVAS, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT - PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT HEAD, COMMERCIAL VEHICLES - MAHINDRA GROUP SPOKE TO ASHISH BHATIA ON THE STRATEGY OF FILLING WHITE SPACES FOR GROWTH
ASHISH BHATIA

Q. What are the opportunities you’re confident of tapping with the addition of the Furio 7 to the product portfolio? Have you succeeded at filling the white spaces?

A. Jalaj Gupta: If you look at the LCV segment, the TIV was about 36,000, about two years ago. And this year also we are anticipating the entire LCV TIV to be somewhere around the same range, maybe marginally a shade lower than 36,000. Now if you look at the sub-segments of the LCV segment, from three and a half tonne to seven and a half tonne (3.5-tonne to 7.5-tonne), MTBD is present in the 3.5-tonne to the six-tonne segment with the Jayo. That’s where we play. In the six- to 7.5-tonne sub-segment, which accounts for 50 per cent of the total LCV TIV, we didn’t exist there. So with the launch of this new LCV, the Furio 7 we are addressing this entire six to 7.5-tonne TIV. What it does to us is that it gives us a shot at addressing the entire TIV of LCVs starting from 3.5-tonne to 7.5-tonne this. Up till now, we were addressing 50 per cent of that TIV. This gives us the opportunity to take a crack at the remaining 50 per cent of the sales.

Dr Venkat Srinivas, Senior vice president - Product Development Head, Commercial Vehicles - Mahindra Group

Q. How are you filling the white spaces in the industry as a whole?

A. Absolutely, besides increasing our addressability, I think this second factor is very important. When Furio as a brand as a platform was envisaged it proved to be a game-changer in the industry. So if you look at the new LCV, it is essentially an extension of the same platform. It’s the same Furio platform with which we are now addressing the LCV segment. So you can imagine the versatility of this particular platform that we are addressing. Spanning from six-tonne to 16-tonne with this particular platform as a permutation and combination of various aggregates, one, it increases the addressability and two, it brings the benefits of the Furio platform to the LCV segment.

Jalaj Gupta, Business Head, Commercial Vehicles, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

Dr Venkat: When we envisaged the Furio platform, we actually did not envisage a single platform, we envisaged it all the way from the lower end of the LCV platform all the way up to the ICV range and up to the medium commercial vehicles. So the platform architecture is actually capable of delivering products in that entire range. And as you know, we have launched two cabins. We’ve got a day cabin, and we’ve got a sleeper cabin, and that’s already been in the market for some time. That’s been launched in BSIV. And now with this Furio LCV launch, we are actually launching the third cabin, designed originally along with the other two to be extremely modular. Therefore the appearance, the aesthetics, the styling, everything was done together at that time. The chassis, the powertrain lineup, BSVI migration did come as a surprise to the entire industry at that time. But everything was actually envisioned as an entire product portfolio made as modular as possible.

Q. Do you expect platform modularity and consolidation to remain a strong approach globally with this launch as a backdrop?

A. Jalaj Gupta: Yes, definitely. I think that’s always been the way to go. And particularly, in recent days and also past several years. When you see wild market shifts, you know, you suddenly see certain segments going up, and certain others coming down. Clearly having the flexibility helps optimise investments. Trying to make these products on basically the same platform would continue to be a huge plus. And that’s what we are actually envisioned from the word go.

Q. Please elaborate on the emphasis on offering a double value proposition. What sort of a mammoth effort did it take to set new benchmarks?

A. Dr Venkat: The mileage guarantee was something that as a company our management including several of us had come up with originally on the Blazo range. So, we had launched it at the 2016 Auto Expo, and this was a way of essentially as a challenger brand to announce that we had arrived. Not only with a better product, but that we stand entirely behind it in terms of the guarantee. With such a strong assurance in place, we found the customers to be very satisfied. While we assured mileage, we also changed the perception in the market. So, this has become a cornerstone of MTBD product portfolio and product strategy. When we launched the Furio ICV two to two and a half years ago, we said that we have to offer this kind of a guarantee then and similarly on the Furio 7 launched now. We work very hard to deliver on our promises backed by a lot of team effort. We chose everything including our powertrains and all our aggregates very carefully to ensure that we could deliver such a performance all the way from concept development to commencing production. It is not that we changed course in between but something that we set out to do with the Furio platform from the very beginning. It was a very critical aspect as you might imagine. Things like putting weight only were required and at the right places, making sure aerodynamics and the overall design of the product is the best from a fuel economy standpoint and so on.

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