Several readers attested to the robustness and toughness of their Mahindras, particularly in more unforgiving terrain, claiming good fuel consumption figures and praising dealership staff. However, several readers also reported serious problems ranging from replaced clutches and gearboxes to blown turbos and a myriad of engine problems that could not be resolved by dealership staff.
Just how well equipped are Mahindra technicians to deal with these concerns raised? A few dealerships were highlighted in the reader correspondence. Added to this, are there any plans to expand the dealership and servicing network at any time, particularly in light of the increased number of vehicles on our road?
As with the majority of new entrants, Mahindra SA has experienced some teething problems. During our three years of operation, we have to date established a base of 44 dealers countrywide, and this base is continuously expanding.
With regards to our dealership technicians: They undergo extensive local training through our alliance with the McCarthy Training Centre, well known for its high standards. In addition to the local training, selected technicians are sent for training in India, where approximately 175 000 vehicles are produced annually.
At Mahindra SA we are well aware that customer satisfaction is a non-negotiable ambition, especially if we are to continue growing within our share of the market. In this respect, to ensure that we maintain a clear focus on our customers, we have made a significant investment in an industry recognised CSI monitoring system, which has generated extremely encouraging results thus far.
Furthermore, all new clients are automatically registered on our 24-hour roadside assistance programme, which is there to help out in the event of a break down, fuel shortage or any other situation.
There are several concerns that the purchasing of a Mahindra points to a consumer that is "penny-wise, pound-foolish" implying that initial savings will be negated in the long run by costly parts and servicing and lower trade-in values. What are your thoughts on these displays of negativity? Considering that Mahindra does not have as big a legacy as several of the vehicles with which it competes in South Africa, what is Mahindra doing to allay these fears?
All facts in this regard suggest that these opinions are mere fallacy. In fact, an analysis of the Auto Dealers Digest (the Bible of used vehicles) shows our SUV retaining 82% of its original value after a period of 24 months, which compares extremely favourably against 75% and 70% respectively for some of the market share leaders.
As a result of our low product price, the gap seems to become even larger ? in terms of Rands and Cents ? swinging the affordability issue even further into our favour. Of course, if the public perception is as you have stated, the onus is definitely on us to educate the buying public in this respect.
Mahindra SA is majority owned by the parent company, Mahindra & Mahindra, located in India. The company was started in 1945 and therefore has a significant legacy. Mahindra & Mahindra in India is $4 Billion company with operations in transport, software, finance, agriculture and capital equipment.
In stark contrast to our competitors and new entrants Mahindra?s ownership ensures both commitment and a long-term approach to business. Unfortunately the majority of South Africans are not aware of these facts, so it is our intention to educate and inform both clients and competitors of exactly what Mahindra is and what we stand for.
Are there plans to introduce the 2.6 CRD engine found in the Scorpio wagon to the Pik-Up range? Or an automatic to the 4X4 Scorpio range? Is it possible to spec a Scorpio without a third row of seats and can the luggage area be fitted with a cover? Is a detachable aerial, to avoid the snapping of the current device, an option? Also, would Mahindra consider introducing a range of sedans to compete in a different market segment?
Mahindra SA is continuously evaluating various opportunities, including those you have alluded to in your question. The third row of seats is easily detachable and should take the average adult no longer than a minute to remove. Various luggage covers do exist in the aftermarket, but these are not supplied standard by default.
However, should there be a demand in this respect, this is something we should look at supplying. The aerial is model dependant and, in the case of the Scorpio, vehicles are supplied with a ?bee-sting? aerial, which screws out by hand. The same aerial can be installed on the Bolero, should the customer wish. There certainly are some very exciting products heading for our shores in the near future and, just as soon as they are in place we will commence with the appropriate marketing and launch efforts.