M&M, Navistar JV to start output next month with all-new engine

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) will launch the first truck in a joint venture with Navistar, North America's largest commercial truckmaker, next month. The JV, called Mahindra Navistar Automotives, will produce medium and heavy trucks above 25 tonnes and tractor-trailers above 49 tonnes.

Pawan Goenka, president (automotive business), said the trucks would be ''competitively priced''. He was speaking at a function in Mumbai to unveil the 7.2-litre MaxxForce engine which will power Mahindra Navistar's trucks and buses.

Goenka said the JV aims to be a ''significant'' player in the country's commercial vehicle market, which has shown signs of recovery last month after recording negative growth in the past three quarters.

''It's going to be a difficult task. We just want to do everything right,'' said Goenka. The JV has already invested Rs1,200 crore, and it plans to raise another Rs500-600 crore long-term debt from Indian banks in the next three to six months, he added.

The funds raised will be used for product development, tools and dyes at the companies greenfield unit in Chakan to produce medium and heavy trucks with capacity of more than 3.5 tonnes.

The company will continue to produce vehicles with lower capacity at its Zaheerabad, Andhra Pradesh plant. Two of M&Ms products, the Loadking and Tourister, have been transferred to the new JV.