more Quotes
Connect with us


‘Right to win globally will come from EV products high on tech, and cutting-edge on design’ – Autocar Professional

Having marched ahead in the domestic market to lead in all its core segments — SUVs, pick-up trucks and tractors –, Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has charted out an ambitious globalisation strategy. The maker of XUV 700 and Scorpio N plans to grow its tractor business by 1.6 times and automotive business by 2.5 times in the next three years.

Already the world’s largest tractor maker in terms of volumes, M&M wants to make further inroads into many new geographies with its farm business. Its next big bets are pick-up trucks and electric vehicles (EV). The media got a sneak peek of both these concepts at a launch in South Africa on August 15. Autocar Professional caught up with Rajesh Jejurikar, the Executive Director and CEO of Mahindra & Mahindra’s Auto and Farm Business, on the sidelines of the mega event and spoke with him about the company’s globalisation vision. Edited excerpts: 

How do you intend to achieve your mid-term target growth in international revenues in the farm equipment business and automotive business?
For us, the next stage of globalisation on the automotive side is around two pillars — lifestyle pick-ups and Born Electrics. But they will be rolled out in a phased manner.

The products that we have launched over the past two or three years — Scorpio N and XUV 700 — have not gotten into international markets fully yet. As a first step, with capacities coming in, they will be vying for a sizeable presence in our existing key markets of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and left-hand drives will go to Latin America.

In step two, the Born Electric vehicles will make their way into the right-hand drive markets like the UK. Step three will be to expand into left- hand drive markets, with EVs and pick-up trucks in the ASEAN market.

Born Electric vehicles are developed for global markets. In the EV world, you don’t have to be a brand for 30 years for the consumers to accept you. The acceptance of buying a new brand is going to be totally different. M&M will aim to be a tech-leading startup coming in and taking on the mainstream EVs with the right design and technology.

Under tractors, we have a set of strong international markets like North America, Turkey, Brazil and Japan. These markets are among the top tractor markets in the world. If you leave out China, M&M has a reasonably good presence there.

The two markets where we don’t have a presence are the ASEAN and European regions, which is where we want to enter with the Oja tractors. The new K2 platform-based products will help accelerate not only our existing core markets of India, North America and Africa, but also open up Europe and ASEAN for us.

Much like North America, we will look to seed the market with our tractors first, build the visibility around the brand, and eventually bring in new automotive products like the pick-up trucks and ‘Born Electric’ BEVs in ASEAN and Europe markets, respectively.

But both auto and farm are in different maturity cycles in the global markets.
Yes, that’s right. In the farm equipment space, even as a global OEM, we are in the top four or five in terms of revenues. And as you know, we are the largest tractor maker in the world in terms of volumes. Clearly, the farm equipment sector business has already progressed a lot globally and it is easier to build and leverage on that. In the case of the automotive business, India is now the third- largest market in the world and as the home market becomes bigger, the ability to compete in the global space becomes stronger. That’s also what has happened in many other countries. If you look at China, when the home market became big, it allowed Chinese players to compete globally, thanks to the scale in the home market.

The Chinese and Koreans have had a reasonable size of domestic market and one has seen how they built their global presence.

Does domestic scale in automotive now give M&M the edge? You are the second- largest SUV maker.
I think in India, in tractors, we have had that advantage, which is now coming in for SUVs and pick-ups as well. As we now become a very large home market competing with all the global players, if you’re succeeding here, you’re doing something right because you have products of a global quality competing with the best in the world at prices that are affordable. That means your product maturity has reached a stage where you can go and start competing around the world.

North America is a key global market for M&M. How have you fared there?
Interestingly, in North America, Mahindra & Mahindra probably is the largest Indian B2C brand with a business exceeding US$ 500 to US$ 700 million with our tractors and Roxor. If you look at all the other Indian brands’ presence in the US, no other B2C brand has the kind of awareness and presence that we have.

It surely has been a long journey. Building a brand is a long, arduous process for you.
As we think about going global, a key question is — how do we do it in a way that we don’t become just exporters, but start focusing on building our brand in each of these countries?

In a way, that’s what we’ve done in North America. The brand is not just known to a few stakeholders or investors who are globally aware. Rather, it is well aligned to the home market.

You should look at some of the advertising we’ve done in North America for tractors. It will show you the tonality. For the past 15-20 years we’ve been working with a North American ad agency and they’ve done work that really resonates well with the local audience. 

We did the Rush Limbaugh show. He used to be a highly influential radio jockey and we had many sponsorship deals with him. Rush was very close to the brand; he would endorse it. After that, we moved to NASCAR. So, there’s a lot of advertising around the community. 

This is how the brand has connected well at a local level, it’s a part of global thinking. Over the past couple of years, from Banbury, UK, in 2022 to what we’ve done now in Cape Town this 15 August, we’ve worked with global ad agencies in the UK. The creative work and all the videos shown in Cape Town and in Banbury, were done by the agency in London, which has given the brand a global tonality. 

Despite legal hurdles, your Roxor now has a clear path to sale. What is your vision with the brand now?
A couple of years ago, we deliberated on how we should play in North America. In order to have a larger presence, we need to have a sharper focus on the rural lifestyle segment, which appeals to both our tractor and Roxor buyers.

The focus is now on building more on the rural lifestyle segment. So, what we’ve done now is we’ve made the front-end the same. Roxor earlier was going through a different team and we had a different channel. Now we’ve merged the team. So, the M&M North America team sells Roxor. So, it’s a similar channel, a similar go-to market and we derive synergies from the two. So, yes, Roxor will certainly be a focus for us as we go forward because it fits very well in the strategy of rural lifestylers.

Now that this whole story (legal case) is behind us, we can work on building the business with more confidence and no hurdles ahead of us.

Yet, it is a tough challenge to build brands in new markets amid global automotive bigwigs.
Which is why it is a very calibrated approach. We have invested in creating a network, brand, all of that in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, North Africa, and so on. That will help us now.

The first phase of growth will just come out of existing products, which we’ve already designed. The brand or channel is set up; the brand has been seeded; you’re just getting much better products out of our portfolio going into those markets.

The next phase, which is going to the UK or Europe, is when we have to be very calibrated and that is where the right to win comes. And that comes out of having a differentiated, high-tech, cutting-edge design in these new sets of products in the EV space.

Continue Reading


San Antonio Zoo welcomes adorable meerkat pups to newly opened … – San Antonio Current

<a href="" rel="contentImg_gal-32700245" title="Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa. – Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo" data-caption="Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa.  
Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo” class=”uk-display-block uk-position-relative uk-visible-toggle”> click to enlarge Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose  commonly found in South Africa. - Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo

Screen shot / X @SanAntonioZoo

Known as Suricata suricatta, meerkats are a small mongoose commonly found in South Africa.

After an almost three-decade absence, meerkats have returned to the San Antonio Zoo with the birth of four adorable pups.

The birth of the meerkats, also known as Suricata suricatta, coincides with the reopening of a special habitat for the animals inside Kronkosky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot, zoo officials said. The previous meerkat habitat closed 27 years ago.

The revamped meerkat habitat now houses a larger and more active family of the mammals, according to zoo officials.

“These little meerkat babies are an absolute delight,” San Antonio Zoo CEO Tim Morrow said in a statement. “We are thrilled to offer our visitors the opportunity to witness these captivating animals up close and personally.”

Families can see the meerkats and experience the new facility during the facility’s annual Zoo Boo!, which runs through Oct. 31.

Subscribe to SA Current newsletters.

Follow us: Apple News | Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter| Or sign up for our RSS Feed

Continue Reading


Royal Enfield appoints AW Rostamani Group as official distributor for the UAE – Autocar Professional

Royal Enfield, a global leader in the mid-size motorcycle segment (250cc – 750cc), announced plans to further strengthen its presence in the Middle East and Africa region with the appointment of AW Rostamani Group as its official distribution partner for the UAE region

Located in Umm Suqeim St. Dubai, the newly inaugurated store will have iconic Royal Enfield motorcycles including the Super Meteor 650, Hunter 350, Scram 411, Classic, Meteor, Interceptor, Continental GT, and the Himalayan. The store will also have the complete range of Royal Enfield apparel and accessories. 

A dedicated service centre has also been set up for Royal Enfield customers in Al Quoz to ensure that customers receive seamless after-sales service experience. To cater to the evolving demands of the riding community in the region, the company plans to set up additional branches in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the coming months. 

With the newly formed alliance Royal Enfield will further widen its presence in the UAE, as the AW Rostamani Group today inaugurated its first Royal Enfield store at Umm Suqeim St. Dubai. 

Speaking about the partnership with AW Rostamani Group, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, CCO of Royal Enfield, said, “We have been focused on growing the middleweight motorcycle segment in the Middle Eastern markets for almost a decade now. In a bid to extend the Royal Enfield pure motorcycling experience to the riding community in UAE, we are excited about our strategic partnership with AW Rostamani who brings a wealth of experience and a strong presence in the market.”

“With this new alliance, customers in the UAE can look forward to easier access to our wide portfolio of exciting motorcycles. This collaboration represents a significant step in our growth strategy, and we are excited about the opportunities it will bring to our valued customers,” he added. 

Demand for Royal Enfield motorcycles across the UAE region continues to rise, as the brand establishes itself as a global leader in the midsize motorcycle sector (250cc-750cc). Exponential growth in Royal Enfield’s International markets has seen production increase to 832,179 motorcycles in FY 2023 and registered motorcycle sales were at 834,895 units (standalone), up by 38.4% from 602,268 (standalone) in FY 22. 

Michel Ayat, CEO of AW Rostamani, said: “We were pleased to forge a partnership with Royal Enfield, a venerable motorcycle manufacturer with an illustrious legacy. The demand for bikes in the UAE is on a steady rise, and we remain steadfast in our belief that this alliance profoundly caters to and elevates the aspirations of the burgeoning community of motorcycle enthusiasts nationwide.”

Continue Reading


Solar energy and climate change are killing future hydro plants in … – ZME Science

There are around 1.2 billion people in Africa, and most of them need more energy than they’re using now. The person in Africa uses four times less energy than the global average, but as African nations improve their standard of living, they are starting to use more and more electricity. Hopefully, the vast majority of that new energy will be renewable and clean — and indeed, that’s the plan for much of the African continent, with hydropower at the forefront.

But the plan is changing.

Hydroelectric dams, once considered to be a prime source of future African energy, may no longer be cost-effective.

The Aswan Dam in Egypt. CC BY 3.0.

At least on paper, the case for hydroelectric energy seems very strong in Africa. Abundant rainfall, massive rivers, and huge waterfalls — the geography of the continent seems to be excellently fit for hydropower. Many countries are already using this. Ghana’s Lake Volta (the largest artificial lake in the world), Ethiopia’s flagship Renaissance Dam, and the Aswan Dam (the largest embankment dam in the world) in Egypt are already huge, completed projects.

But Africa is only exploiting around 10% of its hydropower potential, and there are plans to build way more hydroelectric projects. Except those plans may not be all that wise.

According to a new modeling study, investing in more hydroelectric projects may not be the wisest approach for Africa.

Solar’s cheaper

The researchers looked at what would be the most cost-effective way for African countries to meet their rising energy demand by 2050. They looked at various sources of energy (hydropower, solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas, coal, and others), comparing their cost. They also estimated the cost and benefits of every possible future hydropower in Africa.

The study’s complexity is unprecedented. They included everything from population growth to river flow and interplay between different plants. Ultimately, they found that in many cases, it’s better to simply not build the hydroelectric plants. In fact, 67% of possible future hydropower plants in Africa are probably not worth the investment.

For now, renewables still account for a very small percentage of Africa’s energy. But this stat could start to change soon.

“What is unique about our study is that we model every single hydropower plant in Africa individually — both existing ones and future candidates,” explains Dr. Angelo Carlino, lead author of the study. “This way, our model can pinpoint which plants could be a smart investment and which ones should probably not be built.”

The first reason is that renewable sources (especially solar, but also wind) are becoming cheaper. Simply put, hydropower will be unable to compete economically with other renewable sources of energy. Solar, in particular, is expected to become the cheapest form of energy for Africa.

But there’s another reason why hydropower may not be as cost-effective: climate change.

Climate and water

We’re already seeing the effects of climate change, but in the next couple of decades, these effects will almost certainly intensify. Drought is among the most prominent such effects — and drought is a game changer for hydropower. Drought makes river volume less reliable, and it also means you need to invest more into maintaining the plants.

This is another reason why solar power will emerge as the more attractive technology in the long term,” says Dr. Matthias Wildemeersch, a research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria and co-author of the study.

But this doesn’t mean it’s “game over” for hydropower in Africa. At least in the short and medium term, some hydroelectric plants could provide much-needed cheap power. They could also be used as a buffer in the transition to renewables — essentially serving as a cost-effective bridge to reliable wind and solar.

“Our model shows which specific hydropower plants would still be cost-effective in the short-term,” comments Professor Andrea Castelletti, professor in Natural Resources Management at Politecnico di Milano and senior author of the study. “Especially in the Congo, Niger, and Nile basins, there are certain projects that would be worth the effort, as long as they are well-planned and harmful environmental effects are kept to a minimum.”

However, the study forces African countries to rethink how they should use hydropower.

“The window for hydropower in Africa to be a feasible investment is very rapidly closing,” adds Professor Sebastian Sterl, professor in Energy Meteorology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium, and senior scientist at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The study suggests that beyond 2030, only a very limited number of hydropower plants would remain attractive investments across Africa. “Aside from cost-effectiveness, this is generally good news for the environment: it means that many rivers won’t have to be dammed and can keep their natural course,” concludes Sterl.

Solar will be king

In addition to showing the roadblocks for hydropower, the study highlights how dominant solar power is expected to become.

In the long term, solar power would emerge as the “king” of electricity markets world wide. Solar power is already the cheapest form of electricity globally, and there’s still plenty of room for improvement, particularly as renewable energy is scaled up.

“The benefit of rapid renewable deployment is greater energy security androcky independence, plus long-term energy price deflation because this is a manufactured technology — the more you install the cheaper it gets,” Kingsmill Bond, Senior Principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute, told Euronews earlier this year.

Journal Reference: Angelo Carlino et al, Declining cost of renewables and climate change curb the need for African hydropower expansion, Science (2023). DOI: 10.1126/science.adf5848

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2021 ZimFocus.

One Zimbabwe Classifieds | ZimMarket

Zimbabwe Market Classifieds | ZimMarket

1 Zimbabwe Market Classifieds | ZimMarket

Linking Buyers To Sellers Is Our Business Tradition