MAHINDRA is growing its presence in the Australian market, but the company says it is aiming for quality over quantity when it comes to dealer partners as it expands.The Indian company, which has long had a presence in rural and regional areas across Australia, is expanding into cities across the nation, having already appointed some reputable partners in some of the country’s most populated areas.
Mahindra Auto head of APAC, Joydeep Moitra, said the business is aiming to expand its footprint – but the number of dealerships is not as important as the quality of the partnerships.
“Right now we have about 50 dealers and we are transforming in terms of the dealer network. Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth are all up and running, but we still need to do some more work in Sydney,” he said.
“We are very mindful that we want to be very, very selective about the type of dealers that we get. We are happy to share with you that we are getting some of the best dealer groups.
“In Melbourne – I was there last week – we have Patterson Cheney Group, which has been a Toyota car dealer of the year for many years, and they have decided to work with Mahindra. So clearly we are getting high-quality dealers. We will focus on quality and not quantity.
“I think that’s very, very important that as we grow our business our dealers also are viable, they also make money and we don’t expand the dealer network so much that nobody makes money and gets into a discount (spiral).”
Mahindra Australia national head, Ankit Taneja, said he is proud of the dealers that have signed up with the brand in major markets, including Melbourne, which he describes as “fully covered” now.
“We have dealer partners in place in Melbourne, and we have one of the best general partners any brand can aspire for, and we have got them in a reasonably short span of time,” he said.
“We have the Patterson Cheney Group representing Dandenong, Berwick, and Werribee. Berwick is yet to come, but these other two have already come.
“We have the Jefferson Group, which is one of the biggest auto dealers in Nunawading. We have John Blair Group in Brighton, they were one of the biggest Honda dealers of all time, and then we have the Mantello group, a dealer group for Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Chery – they have taken our franchise in Roxburgh Park.
“Apart from that we also have dealers in Geelong. So all in all the Melbourne metro is fully covered, so we have the dealer network everywhere now.”
Mr Moitra said that some of the dealer groups the brand is partnering with are well established.
He said it was the relationships that are embedded with customers in the key areas where Mahindra has been signed up that will, in theory, help drive sales of the brand’s two new SUVs, and future models to come, including a range of electric SUV models.
Mr Moitra said these dealerships have such a depth of experience that they are well-respected brands in themselves.
“They’ve been there in that community for about 20 years, 30 years,” he said.
“So the kind of trust a local would have, in terms of that dealer, they would know they would have done business with them over the last many years. So that brings in a huge element of trust into the party. That’s why we’ve been very selective about the dealer network.”
Mr Taneja echoed Mr Moitra in his thoughts on the NSW capital city, stating that the Sydney marketplace is one that requires more work – indeed, you will see Mahindra’s call for dealer applications in the very pages of GoAutoNews.
“Sydney is the only area where we are developing, and there are a couple of pockets we are looking at, but apart from that the channel is covered, and these two launches have been accepted very well,” he said.
Both Mr Moitra and Mr Taneja confirmed that Mahindra will look to report its sales figures in 2024 once the dealer network is more fulfilled and stabilised.
Mr Moitra said that the move to publish the brand’s sales numbers is a vital one “because it’s important that dealers also see each other’s performance, and there is natural competition amongst dealers.”
Mahindra Australia has had its busiest 12-month period to date, launching two all-new models in the 2023 calendar year alone.
The Indian manufacturer launched the all-new diesel-powered Scorpio 4×4 SUV in April this year, and followed it up in May with the launch of the seven-seat petrol XUV700 model.