Mahindra & Mahindra has initiated talks with various state governments in India to set up manufacturing infrastructure for its upcoming range of electric sports utility vehicles, according to a top company official.
The automaker, which has lined up five new electric Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) with the first four expected to hit the roads between December 2024 and 2026, will evaluate incentives offered by different state governments before finalizing strategy for the production of these EVs.
"One of the criteria to make that decision (electric vehicle production) is the kind of subsidies we may get from the state governments. So, we are waiting to go through that process and will keep two-three options open before firming up our manufacturing strategy," M&M Executive Director - Auto and Farm Sectors - Rajesh Jejurikar said here in an interaction.
The company has already started discussions with a few state governments regarding the production of the new electric SUV range, he said without naming the states.
The automaker rolls out its conventional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles from plants in various states, including Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Asked if M&M would go in for production at its existing passenger vehicle manufacturing plants or look for a new plant for electric SUVs, he said, "We are open to multiple options. I am not saying that subsidy will be the only criteria but it is definitely one criterion in deciding where to make."
He further said, "We are not worried if it is going to be common with ICE vehicles or not but we would definitely put one filter of the subsidies that we are getting for investment into the decision process."
However, M&M would prefer a state which already has a ready automotive manufacturing infrastructure, Jejurikar added.
"It has to be in an automotive hub. So, we are obviously not going to go to a state where there is no automotive ecosystem. We have enough states now with such ecosystems which are focussing on attracting EV investments. We will evaluate those three-four different options," he stated.
The automaker plans to introduce the five electric SUVs under two brands -- XUV and the all-new electric-only brand called 'BE'.
Legacy brands will come under the XUV brand while the new electric models would be rolled out under the BE lineage.
Mahindra currently does not have a presence in the electric passenger vehicle segment. It however is the leading player in the domestic electric three-wheeler space with over 70 per cent market share.
When asked about the company's plans regarding exporting the electric SUVs, Jejurikar said, "We have not decided on the markets yet but we have started to look at all the regulatory requirements and expectations around that, so that work is on right now."
He noted that the company is in the process of ramping up production capacity to cater to both domestic and international markets.
"Two years later if we haven't learned from the last two years then we need to be held accountable for not being a good learning organization. So, we will definitely not repeat the mistake and we are creating enough capacity to allow us to do domestic and exports," he said.
Chip shortage and strong demand for M&M's new models like XUV700 and Scorpio-N have led to long pending orders for Mahindra running up to nearly two years.