Ssangyong Tol Launch Testing And Development Center In Europe
|   Sunday, December 22, 2013
The Indian group Mahindra & Mahindra has announced that it will open a research and development center in Europe, which will serve to make the brands in its portfolio, such as SsangYong, be competitive at global level. The center will be opened in 2014 in the United Kingdom and is designed to calibrate the future models of the group in accordance with the requirements of European users, from the suspension settings, to design and technology.

The news was already confirmed by Lee Yoo-Il, the SsangYong Motor Company president, in an interview with the newspaper "Seoul Economic Daily".
Mahindra & Mahindra becomes the second Indian company to open its test and development center in Europe after Tata Motors.

"The product development centre will primarily be for Mahindra products, because Ssangyong already has an ecosystem in place. It should take six months to a year to be operational once the final decision is taken. It is a question of extending our R&D with some kind of arrangement, maybe a company or subsidiary — we have to decide that. We are looking at the UK in a big way, but also France and Italy," Rajan Wadhera, M&M's chief executive for technology.

He added, "You have to be there if you want to be global and we need it for capability building. We want to be part of an ecosystem that is fully developed. They (in developed markets) have been working on cars for 100 years and we only have 10 years of experience. We don't have the talent here, we won't be able to scale up."

Mahindra group chairman Anand Mahindra recently acknowledged the importance of global expansion, saying "Globalisation is a necessity. You're not safe if you're not competitive abroad, because the global players are at your doorstep. You need to access the sources of knowledge that global companies are able to do. There are certain large markets where we have to make large bets."

The SsangYong brand entered into the portfolio of Mahindra & Mahindra in 2011. SsangYong sales reached their highest level since 2005 to the present, totaling 14,244 units sold in the first nine months of this year, representing an increase of 21 percent over the previous year. The SsangYong future seems assured with the acquisition made by the company from India, which plans to invest seriously in the future models of the brand.

M&M is selling right now a variety of its models such as the Scorpio (called Goa), a Scorpio-insipired pick-up and the XUV500 in Europe. The XUV500 was their first product made with the global market in mind. The company is also present in Australia, South America and some African markets.

Its main manufacturing facilities are in India, but assembly plants can also be found in Brazil, Tunisia and Egypt and there are some reports that the company is looking for more opportunities in Southeast Asia and Africa. As for its tractor branch, M&M has four plants in the US, two joint ventures in China, and one factory each in Australia, Chad and Mali.
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