Having established its leadership position in sports utility vehicle (SUV) segment in India, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) now harbours the ambition to become a global major in the segment by acquiring South Korean SUV-maker Ssangyong Motor Company (SYMC).
Remarkably, the auto maker is making its bid to become the global player in the same month in which it launched its now highly-successful SUV Bolero a decade ago in August 2000. “This acquisition will provide us a tremendous opportunity to accelerate our progress towards our stated intention of becoming a globally-recognised player in the specific niche of utility vehicles,” M&M Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Anand Mahindra, said.
“This acquisition will give us more confidence as we bid to acquire a global footprint in the sports utility vehicle segment,” Mahindra said. M&M is currently selling around 7,000 Boleros per month. “The Mahindra Bolero continues to create new records and scale greater heights as India’s number one SUV. Customers have to wait at least two to three weeks to get a Bolero. It is a very good product,” M&M’s Chief Executive, International Operations (Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors), Pravin Shah said.
“Now we want to be a global player in the SUV segment and the acquisition of the South Korean company will help us a lot in this direction,” he added. SYMC is strong in the SUV segment and has models like Rexton, Kyron and Actyon and sedan Chairman. The company has been undergoing a Court-led restructuring from 2009 after suffering heavily due to the downturn in the auto industry.
The company has 138 dealers in its home country, with another 1,300 located across 98 nations. It sold 35,000 units in 2009. “We are the right partner for the South Korean company. It is possible to develop more products in the South Korean assembly lines in future and it (the association) is a good combination,” M&M President (Automotive and Farm Equipment) Pawan Goenka said.