The company which already has a presence in automobiles – it sold over 10,000 units last year – and tractors (with a market share of 16%) sees great potential in the proximate Sri Lankan market.
Outside India, Sri Lanka is one of Mahindra’s biggest markets, company officials noted.
Mahindra and Mahindra are Title Sponsor of the Sri Lanka Premier League cricket tournament but senior company executives declined to say how long the relationship will continue with Mr. S.P. Shukla, President of Group Strategy and a member of the conglomerate’s Group Executive Board saying ``contractual details cannot be disclosed.’’
Mr. Nalin Welgama, Chairman of the Ideal Group of Companies, the automobile distributor here of Mahindra, explained at a Colombo news conference that although vehicle imports into the country plunged following last year’s duty increases, their range of mainly light pick-ups were unaffected as they were untouched by the duty change.
Mahindra is today market leader here in the pick-up category enjoying over 50% market share and within a year of its launch of the Maxximo mini-truck has achieved a 40 plus percent market share.
Given its vehicle sales success, talks of the possibility of an assembly plant here have already begun, Welgama said.
Mahindra recently acquired an aircraft manufacturer in Australia (Gipps Aero) and Deccan, a Lankan aircraft operator acquired one of its Airvans. Deccan run by the Favorites Group has teamed up with Ideal as Ideal Favourite Aviation and that company has been named as Mahindra Aerospace’s marketing, sales and service representative here.
Welgama indicated positive prospects for aircraft sales and operations locally with domestic aviation picking up post-war. He made the point that as aircraft enter the country duty free, a small plane wouldn’t cost much more than a high-end Mercedes or BMW taxed at 300% on entry.
DIMO has for many years been the distributor here for Mahindra tractors. Regal Motors distribute the second tractor brand, Swaraj.
The Mahindra range of scooters, now breaking into the Lankan market, was displayed at the Sri Lanka Premier League. They will be marketed by an Idea subsidiary, Ideal 2 Wheelers Ltd.
Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services Ltd., a leading non-banking financial services company in India operating mainly in semi-urban and rural markets, is coming here on the perception of opportunities for vehicle financiers. It will initially provide financing for purchasers of its own range of vehicles with emphasis on smaller towns and rural areas but has plans to over time offer housing loans and insurance broking services.