Swaraj to fight parent M&M’s brands
SWARAJ tractors, the flagship brand of Punjab Tractor Limited (PTL), will have a completely independent existence in the market and will compete with the Mahindra range of tractors. Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M), which now owns both the brands—Mahindra and Swaraj— after its successful acquisition of PTL few months back, would maintain distinct identities of both the tractor brands in the domestic market. The company has drawn up aggressive marketing plans for Swaraj tractors and would continue with its existing 500 dealer base. Mahindra and Mahindra’s president (farm equipment sector) Anjanikumar Choudhari, who took charge as PTL’s chairman over the weekend, told ET’ “Swaraj has tremendous brand value in many northern markets and we are going to exploit it fully. It was the second largest tractor company a few years back and we would be promoting Swaraj aggressively to regain its lost market share. Some price improvements in the product are also being planned which would be followed by a publicity campaign.” While both tractor brands would enjoy independent existence, a complete synergy in the field of production and other backend operations has been planned by M&M. The company would utilise the lowcost vendors of PTL for its own tractors and eventually have a common vendor base for both products. The PTL foundry which is doing 8000-9000 tonne of casting and forging operating annually —but has a nominal peak capacity of 20,000 tonne—would be expanded and utilised for manufacturing critical parts for Mahindra tractors. “We are planning major capital investment for the modernisation and expansion of the foundry operations. There is huge shortage of casting capacity in the market, so a major integration of the PTL’s foundry business with M&M operations is being planned,” said Mr Choudhari. M&M would also be harnessing the two under-utilised facilities of PTL for organic needs. Swaraj Engines, which is currently working at a 50% capacity and forks out 30,000 units annually, would be utilised to meet the engine demand for Mahindra products. While Swaraj Automotive, which makes automotive seats and recliners and is already a major supplier to many original equipment manufacturers including Maruti Udyog, would feed M&M as well. The company is also targeting some expansion of PTL’s combined harvestor (mechanised harvesting vehicle) manufacturing facility. “Iran Tractor Manufacturing Company, our business partners in Iran, has shown keen interest in the combined harvesting facility. They have visited the PTL factory and are looking for exports of these machines,” Mr Choudhari added. Swaraj tractors would have independent exports in Nigeria and Uganda, its traditional export markets, but for the rest it would tag the Mahindra brand. M&M, which had sold 113,000 units world-wide in last fiscal year and became the third largest global brand in term of sales.