Indian 4x4 and pick-up giant Mahindra has no plans to enter the UK commercial vehicle market as it believes it could not sell a sufficient volume of right-hand drive Euro 6 vehicles.
As revealed by What Van's sister magazine BusinessCar, the firm is due to launch a sub-£10,000 electric car in the first quarter of 2016, but speaking to What Van?, Dr Pawan Goenka, group president of Mahindra’s automotive sector, said the firm has no plans to bring what he called conventional vehicles to the UK any time soon.
Mahindra is a major player in the Indian market and is known for its rugged utility vehicles in its homeland. According to IHS Automotive, in 2014 it commanded an 11% market in India, selling 407,386 units.
“The UK is the only Euro 6 right-hand drive market in the world, which makes it a difficult market to enter,” he told What Van?. “If we were to bring a vehicle to the UK just for the UK we would have to develop right-hand drive Euro 6 cars.”
“Unless we know we can sell a sizeable number – eight to 10 thousand vehicles a year - we cannot justify spending the money for Euro 6 right hand drive vehicles,” Goenka added.
“It’s a question of financial justification of ‘can we afford to develop vehicles for the UK market and can we get enough volume to make it happen?’ Hopefully in the future that will happen, but at the moment we have no plans.”
Mahindra owns Ssangyong, and Goenka said he wants the Korean brand to “lead the way” among Mahindra’s companies in the UK market.
However, the company’s sales are well off Goenka’s justifiable target at the moment – Ssangyong registered just 197 commercial vehicles and 1542 passenger cars in 2014.
“Our objective is to launch a new Ssangyong product every year in the UK. We are currently working on three new platforms that are on the drawing board in various stages,” Goenka revealed to What Van?.
Ssangyong launched a 1-tonne Korando Sports pick-up earlier this year, which is significant for the company as it means buyers don’t have to pay VAT on top of the purchase price, as the model is classed as a commercial vehicle.