M&M SUVs to get European flavor via new UK design center

M&M used to be India’s biggest SUV maker

Mahindra Group said it has set up a automotive design center in the UK to help it come out with “sophisticated, authentic SUVs with an unmissable presence”.

The group, home to India’s second-biggest home-growth automaker, said Mahindra Advanced Design Europe will further sharpen its “distinctive product designs and differentiated technology offerings” to further its connected car experiences.

Rajesh Jejurikar, Executive Director, Mahindra and Mahindra said the new facility is part of M&M’s plans to bring unique customer centric products.

The new facility, abbreviated as MADE, will provide design inputs to all future automotive and mobility products from the brand, including Born EV SUVs, he said. In addition to helping the automotive unit, the design center will also be a resource available to other Mahindra Group companies.

Mahindra & Mahindra, the automotive division of the group has been under tremendous pressure in recent years due to the entry of several new players and brands in the market.

Many new entrants, such as Suzuki from Japan, Kia Motors from Korea and MG from the UK, have introduced trendy and world class products into the Indian SUV market that used to be dominated by M&M.

As a result, M&M lost its dominant position in the market, and has been feeling the need to make its SUV designs more sophisticated and world class.

The design facility, which will be made operational on July 1 this year, will be located in West Midlands, UK, said the group.

“A key lever to make the business future-ready is to significantly strengthen design capability across automotive, farm equipment and two-wheelers globally,” Jejurikar said.

“It will give us a quantum leap in both capacity and capability in the design space.”

The new facility will seek to tap talent from nearby institutes like Coventry University, Royal College of Art, and other design colleges in the U.K..

According to the group, the Coventry region in U.K. is a “powerhouse of automotive design”.

“M.A.D.E will contribute and leverage the skills, experience, and expertise of this network of design talent,” the Mahindra Group said in a statement.

The facility will be part of the three main design centers for the group, including Mahindra Design Studio in Mumbai and Pininfarina Design in Turin, Italy.

Besides its mainstay automotive business, the group is also present in information technology, financial services and the time-share business. It is also the world’s largest tractor company by volume.

The group has also diversified into defence, renewable energy, agribusiness, logistics and real estate development, and employs over 2,56,000 people, most of whom work in its IT division.