MAHINDRA is the worlds largest tractor manufacturer by volume.
Sometimes perceived as a budget alternative, other times afforded cult-like owner endorsements rarely seen outside of Suburu, the brand has aimed for a middle ground, tough yet affordable.
At a Gold Coast, Queensland, sales conference this month, Mahindra management presented to over seventy dealers from across Australia and explained why Australia is the sales equivalent of a coal miner’s canary.
Mahindra head of international operations, Arvind Matthews, said a combination of strict legislative requirements and open market competition made Australia a tough market.
If you have to survive here, you can pretty much survive anywhere
“Australia, in terms of it’s legal requirements and customer requirements, is pretty tough,” he said.
“If you have to survive here, you can pretty much survive anywhere.
“Australia is a very competitive market, there are no barriers to trade, there are no duties, anyone who wants to play, can come and play.”
Mr Matthews said this kept the Mahindra engineering teams on the absolute cutting edge, to make sure they were ready for other markets.
“If we don’t make changes today, the other markets will follow two to three years later,” he said.
“Australia may not be huge volume for us today, we clearly have a growth strategy.
“But if we have to offer product, and if we have to make it in Australia, then we can make it anywhere.”
Mr Matthews said in terms of emission reduction and safety legislation, Australia was second only to Europe.
“Europe is first, with Australia right behind, then the rest of the world,” he said.
“So India, which is our biggest market, follows Australia by two to three years.
“If we don’t fix it for Australia, the whole house of cards collapses, when it comes to India’s turn.
Mr Matthews said India had more stringent regulations on emissions and safety being introduced over the next two years.
“In the next two years we will all have to comply in our core markets,” he said.
“So Australia keeps us ahead of the game, that is the whole objective.
Mr Matthews said Australia's complex farming systems set the bar for competing with global markets.
“There is more complexity here then even India.”
- The author travelled and attended the conference as a guest of Mahindra.
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