Mahindra South Africa (MSA) has been named the fastest growing automotive brand in South Africa in terms of sales growth in the passenger car and light commercial vehicle (LCV) segments in the first five months of this year.
Mahindra grew 124 per cent on combined sales of cars and LCVs over this period,jumping from 699 to 1,563 units,compared to 94 per cent growth for second-placed Jaguar,according to automotive market intelligence company RGT Smart.
The company collates and analyses South African vehicle sales statistics for a number of clients,including the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA).
Mahindra also showed the highest rate of increase in passenger vehicle sales at 245 per cent (180 units moving up to 628 units) and was placed third among the fastest growing brands in the LCV segment,with growth of 84 per cent,as sales swelled from 517 to 935 units over the five-month period under review.
MSA chief executive Ashok Thakur described the report as ‘very encouraging’ for the local affiliate for major Indian manufacturer Mahindra.
“We are now seeing the fruits of a comprehensive and successful turnaround strategy that put the company in a strong position for growth after the economic woes of 2008/09”,Thakur said.
“The young company had been making good progress since its founding in 2004 until it was hit by a number of negative factors in the downturn period.
These included the imposition of the National Credit Act,increasing competition,exchange rate fluctuations and the beginning of the global economic meltdown which also impacted South Africa,” Thakur said.
A major step was an injection of capital by parent company,Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd,which was used to buy out the remaining 49 per cent of the local company from African Investments so that Mahindra SA became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indian conglomerate.
There was a further capital investment in operating capital as well as some changes to the management team.
Thakur added that the introduction of new models like the Mahindra XUV500 SUV and the Genio pick-up as well as special editions of existing models,had boosted local interest in the brand,while big improvements had been made in terms of working with the dealer network to ensure a higher level of parts supply and improve general levels of servicing.
“Brand building,using an adaptation of Mahindra & Mahindra’s international campaign,which is based on the slogan of ‘Rise’,is an area of renewed activity which is already showing benefits,” Thakur said.
Mahindra SA’s dealer network is also growing apace.
A total of 56 dealers have been appointed and 53 are already operational,with 15 of these appointments having been made since January.
Further open points have been identified and dealers for these regions are being sought.
The company is also involved in a project to increase its presence in Africa.
Currently,the countries in the network are Botswana,Zimbabwe,Zambia and Swaziland with future expansion plans into the SADC region.
The aim is to double sales during 2012,in view of the growing model range,keen pricing and added value offerings.
“We are aware that this is a faster growth rate than the average for the industry,but are confident of being able to achieve these sales.
Some of our dealers are already recording sales that give them more than 20 per cent market share in their area of responsibility,” said Thakur.