Mahindra’s Saahasee Chunautee (Audacious Challenge) in the CV Segment

Siddhanth Hoskote

Growth Partner & Solution Architect |


Shaveta Bhardwaj, CEO & Founder, Sprint Studio and Uday Kiran, Founder #1MinuteStories & Community Architect on Mentza connected with Rajeev Malik who heads Marketing at Mahindra’s Commercial Vehicle Division. Rajeev has overseen the launch and in-market strengthening of Mahindra’s trucks in the Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV) segment for over a decade and narrated Mahindra’s journey in the HCV space over a three-part series on how the team tackled this saahasi chunautee (Audacious challenge). Part 1 covers the build-up to the challenge that the Mahindra team faced.

‘OK is no longer OK’

The HCV space was for long dominated by 2 brands, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland. The CV industry is part of an all-encompassing transport industry that contributes to nation building and sustaining the nation. The industry however was stuck in a traditional, conservative mode with little effort made by existing players in innovation and product improvement. This is when Mahindra announced its entry in this space in partnership with Navistar Inc. from the US. Mahindra’s ‘OK is no longer OK’ campaign in 2011 created ripples even at internal ex-co levels as well as among competition on what Mahindra was intending to launch.

Challenger brands need to differentiate themselves to stand out vs. market leaders

While mileage and service/ availability of spare parts were always the main choice drivers of the category, Mahindra understood that a proposition positioned on the same aspects would not give the brand any edge as the market leaders held strong on those metrics. Hence, they decided to launch trucks with cutting edge innovative design that offered better comfort to the drivers who often drove trips of over 1,000km. 

However, the quest for Differentiation should never compromise on delivery of category basics

The profits earned by the transport industry are directly dependent on better mileage, wide distribution of service stations and easy availability of spare parts that help get the truck back on the road asap. While Mahindra’s trucks were perceived to be innovative, their inability to deliver better mileage, as well as the early-stage problems of establishing a wide distribution network of service stations with readily available spare parts meant that Mahindra’s trucks suffered on reviews from transport fleet owners as well as truck drivers.

Hence, the need for a ‘resubmission’ of the product through its new offering – ‘Blazo’

The bad reviews meant that the Mahindra team had to go right back to design stage to try and find ways to improve the mileage, as well as build a strong network that guaranteed quick service through readily available spare parts. Mahindra then introduced its revamped offering – Blazo in the 2016 Auto Expo, with (1) a significant reduction in weight, (2) new technology that could guarantee better fuel efficiency, (3) new design, and with the daring proposition of ‘better mileage or get your truck back’.

Join the Shuddh Desi Marketing conversation on the Mentza app with Shaveta and Uday every Sunday at 1 pm for more such interesting insights.

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