India's Mahindra to open auto assembly plant in Ghana

Accra, Aug 12 (IANS) Buoyed by sales of 3,500 SUVs and pick-ups in the last seven years, Indian automotive major Mahindra is to set up an assembly plant and service centre on a 9.5 acre plot in the Ghanaian capital along with its local partner.

The decision was driven by the need to explore the vast investment potentials and service the needs of the vehicle market in the West African region, said Thomas Svanikier, executive chairman of Svani Motors, the vehicle's sole distributor in Ghana.

"The Automobile Plaza would explore the potential of the fast expanding local automobile market and offer quality and affordable vehicles and services to meet increasing market demand in Ghana and other neighbouring countries," he added.

He said more than 3,500 Mahindra vehicles had been sold over the past seven years to state institutions, private organizations, industries, UN agencies and individuals in Ghana.

Svanikier said the company which controls 20 percent of the imported vehicle market in the country, is currently making waves with the latest generation of Mahindra vehicles - the Mahindra XUV 500, the Mahindra Genio and the Mahindra Xylo.

Mahindra's senior general manager for the African region, Sanjay Jadhav, said: "We are a well-recognized brand in Ghana and have a strong presence in the institutional segment with our pick-up and SUV range."

Jadhav said the introduction of the new range of Mahindra vehicles in the country was part of the efforts to improve the comfort levels of customers.

"This is also in line with the Mahindra brand philosophy of Rise, which includes Driving Positive Change in the Market with Alternate Thinking. Our aim is to offer mobility solutions to customers in Ghana that meet their needs," he added.

As part of Svani's efforts to make it easy for more people to afford vehicles, the company has joined with local financial institution Fidelity Bank to provide financial assistance to customers through hire-purchase and lease schemes.

Mahindra is a Mumbai-based, $16.2 billion multinational group that employs more than 155,000 people in over 100 countries. The company operates in the key industries that drive economic growth.

Mahindra enjoys a strong presence in the agribusiness, aerospace, components, consulting services, defence, energy, financial services, industrial equipment, logistics, real estate, retail, steel, commercial vehicles and two-wheeler industries.

Last year, the company featured in the Forbes Global 2000, a listing of the biggest and most powerful companies in the world. In 2013, the Mahindra Group received the Financial Times Boldness in Business Award in the Emerging Markets category.

(Francis Kokutse can be contacted at fkokutse@hotmail.com)

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