Mahindra Navistar Automotives Ltd., a joint venture between Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) and Navistar of the U.S., on Monday announced the start of production at the Chakan facility with the roll-out of the first truck offering, the 25-tonne MN 25, priced at Rs. 14.99 lakh (ex-showroom Pune).

Speaking on the occasion, Anand Mahindra, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Mahindra & Mahindra, said “the Chakan plant is one of the most modern plants in India and is set to create new benchmarks in automotive excellence. This plant will also help drive tremendous synergies for Mahindra Navistar with the upcoming vendor park, the common utilities and reduction in capex. We will soon be launching the rest of our heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) range from here as well.”

The launch of the MN25 truck is a major step in making the joint venture a full range commercial vehicle player. Rakesh Kalra, Managing Director, Mahindra Navistar Automotives, said, “in line with our philosophy of offering value-for-money proposition to our customers, the MN25 is competitively priced. The high-performance MN25 is one of the most powerful, fuel-efficient, rugged and comfortable 25-tonner to be launched in India. It was designed and developed in India with technological assistance of Navistar, which has over 175 years of trucking experience.”

According to Nalin Mehta, Chief Operating Officer, Mahindra Navistar Automotives, “having started the production, we are focussed on the sales and service infrastructure and filling the pipelines with our products. We look forward to start of sales in the next 2-3 months.'' On the distribution front, the joint venture is in the process of creating a network of exclusive dealerships ably supported by Mahindra's existing network to service customers.

M&M and International Truck and Engine Corporation, the operating company of Navistar, entered into a joint venture to manufacture light, medium and heavy commercial vehicles for India as well as global markets in 2005. The Chakan plant is spread over 700 acres and entailed investments of Rs. 4,000 crore. The joint venture plans to address every segment of the commercial vehicle market (including trucks & buses) from 3.5 tonne to 49 tonne with variants of passenger transport, cargo and specialised load applications. Mahindra Navistar aims to expand its product line over the next two years and will make other M&M products as well.

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