Indian automaker Mahindra says competition from Tesla ‘does not faze us’

In Asia

Mahindra atom electric car at Auto Expo 2020, on February 5, 2020, in Greater Noida, India.

Pradeep Gaur | Mint | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

Mahindra Group isn’t worried about global players like Tesla entering India’s highly competitive electric vehicle market, its CEO and managing director Anish Shah told CNBC.

“We’ve seen tremendous competition in India over the last 20 years. So Tesla or anyone else coming in does not faze us,” Shah said on “Street Signs Asia” Tuesday. 

“At one point, Mahindra was written off when all the global majors were coming into India. Today, we continue to have the number one market share in SUVs from a revenue standpoint,” he added.

Tesla is reportedly discussing plans to enter the EV space in India, which is the world’s third-largest auto market, according to Reuters.  

CEO Elon Musk met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June and said he has plans to “make significant investments in India.”

Mahindra Group CEO discusses its EV strategy

Despite the global competition, Mahindra has “not just survived but thrived” in the Indian market, said Shah.

“We have close to a 50% market share in the light commercial vehicle segment. We continue to have 40% plus market share in farm equipment and tractors,” the CEO said, adding the company expects to perform well in the coming years.

Last week, Mahindra raised $145 million from Singapore’s state-owned investor Temasek for its electric vehicle unit at a valuation of up to 805.8 billion Indian rupees ($9.8 billion), in the latest fundraising by the Indian automaker. Temasek will take up to 3% stake in the EV unit Mahindra Electric Automobile Limited.

The company said it expects EVs to make up between 20% and 30% of its total SUV sales by 2027.

Market potential

Read more about electric vehicles, batteries and chips from CNBC Pro

Given current global supply chain disruptions and the government’s policy of making India self reliant, the report added, “It is important that India creates its own indigenous solutions and a supporting domestic value chain.”

Shah highlighted that “supply chain obviously is an important part” for India’s EV market.

“We do have a research center in India that develops a fair bit of technology as well,” he said. “But the auto industry technology is global. To that extent, there is a dependence similarly with semiconductors. And we’ve seen some of the challenges in that in the last couple of years.”

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