It seems that Asiabrands Motors Corporation, the official distributor of Mahindra & Mahindra in the Philippines, is eyeing an expansion in 2016 beyond just offering Mahindra's vehicles.
In a conversation with Mr. Felix Mabilog, Jr., last night at a party hosted by the Columbian Group (which also includes Kia, BMW and Peugeot), the veteran auto executive shared the next phase for the brand.
“Mahindra is the #1 manufacturer of agricultural tractors worldwide in terms of sales, and that's what we will be looking at next year,” said Mabilog.
Tractors are not as common in the Philippines due to the labor-intensive nature of local farming, as opposed to the more efficient and larger plantations abroad. Mabilog says their plans to introduce tractors will hinge on the agrarian reform program and the participation of banks to lend the farmers and cooperatives the means to acquire equipment to boost efficiency and productivity.
According to Mabilog, the tractors will start at around PhP500,000 for the basic models, while larger, more powerful versions could go up to PhP2 million.
Mabilog also shared with us another potential future expansion for the Mahindra business: vehicle armoring.
“Today, most basic vehicle armor services are offered for around USD50,000 (PhP 2.37 million) and that doesn't even include the price of the vehicle yet,” said Mabilog.
Vehicle armoring is a very expensive business and involves installing heavy, bullet-resistant plates inside the door and body panels, as well as replacing the windows with laminated glass that could withstand small arms fire. Mabilog says Mahindra can do it more affordably.
“We can do it for PhP2 million (USD42,000) for Level 2 armoring, including the price of the vehicle; the Mahindra Enforcer,” continued Mabilog.
We confirmed with Mr. Mabilog if their future armoring business unit will accommodate customers with existing cars or SUVs to be upgraded, to which he said yes. The price he indicated for that kind of service starts USD 30,000 (PhP 1.42 million).