Mahindra & Mahindra launches two new backhoe variant EarthMaster SX & LX

Providing Innovative Technology is Mahindra & Mahindra's Motive

Kairas Vakharia
"We wanted to give the market a superior product in terms of technology and fuel economy. To start with technology, we are the first ones to fit our machines with joysticks, telematics, voice assistant messages, instrument clusters, and language compatibility," says Mr. Kairas Vakharia, Senior Vice President – Innovation and Business Head Construction Equipment, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, in an interview with S. A Faridi.

How has your performance been in the first half of this fiscal in such economic conditions?
During the first half of the fiscal, we grew 48% and have sold 509 units. The second half is looking quite difficult and it might stay like that in the coming months. If you look at it in a larger perspective, the industry has negative growth this year. So, it has really been a tough year for everyone, as we are a new entrant, we are quite satisfied with our sales growth.

Tell us about the new variants of Mahindra EarthMaster introduced at Excon.
We have launched two new variants 'Mahindra EarthMaster SX and Mahindra EarthMaster LX,' of our highly acclaimed product, Mahindra EarthMaster. With the launch of these two new variants, we now have three variants of backhoe catering to different price points in the market. While the flagship Mahindra EarthMaster now re-christened as the "Mahindra EarthMaster VX" caters to the top end of the market with its superior features, while the EarthMaster SX and LX cater to the entry level customers with their highly competitive price.

The LX and SX variants have been introduced in line with the Mahindra Rise philosophy of providing opportunities to our customers to rise in life. Hence we have introduced these new variants at an attractive price point, so as to enable more customers to experience the EarthMaster brand. LX is approximately Rs.1 lakh and SX is Rs.1.5 lakh cheaper than our Flageship VX but at the same time we have also ensured that LX and SX enjoy the same fuel efficiency as that of our VX backhoe loader. With this we are ushering not only a new era of performance, comfort and ease of operation, but also affordability in backhoe loader segment.

Our backhoe loaders present the discerning Indian customer with the choice to BREAKFREE from the limitations of outdated technology. Equipped with superior technology coupled with unmatched fuel economy, superior style and operator comfort and REMOTECARE, the Mahindra EarthMaster offers a host of benefits to the earthmover and is the ideal machine for all heavy duty applications like excavation, loading, grading, dozing, and cutting.

What are the first of its kind modifications have you made to your products? Could you please elaborate on your REMOTECARE technology?
We wanted to give the market a superior product in terms of technology and fuel economy. To start with technology, we are the first ones to fit our machines with joysticks, telematics, voice assistant messages, instrument clusters, and language compatibility.

The Mahindra EarthMaster comes with REMOTECARE feature, the first and only one of its kind in backhoe loaders in India. It is an intelligent communication system that keeps the business owner or fleet manager constantly informed about their machine through mobile phone based SMS updates. This allows customers to BREAKFREE from lack of control over business, and helps them manage their fleets from the comforts of their offices, cars or homes.

REMOTECARE has intelligent in-built sensors which are capable of sensing and detecting critical faults in time and by giving warning in advance to the owner through SMS; it also helps in maintaining the health of the machine. Since it is preventative in nature, it helps prevent major breakdowns.

How well is your manufacturing unit equipped with latest and state-of-the-art technology?
Every Mahindra EarthMaster is manufactured at Mahindra's state-of-the-art facility at Chakan, Pune. Spread over an area of 30 acres. The plant has a built up area of 10,000 sqm and is scalable for future product additions. This plant has state-of-the-art technology and manufacturing processes. The plant utilizes fully automatic Robotic Welding Units.

Mahindra Earthmaster

The plant has in-house Paint shop facilities, uses High Poly Urethane Top Coat ensuring durability & wear from abrasion, High Built Epoxy Primer for excellent corrosion resistance also gives car like finish. The Integrated Facility for assembly which provides aggregate handling system in place. This plant follows set of rigid quality evaluation procedures and implements the Advanced NOVA-C. Every machine rolled out is evaluated to check for appearance, welding and painting and proper functioning. The automated welding facility which is equipped with technological advanced imported welding machines ensures finest weld quality & zero defects.

Testing facilities in the plant ensures critical tests on every machine, like movement of loader and backhoe for 200 cycles, inspection of torques at critical places, inspection of critical filters.

In the backhoe loader business, brand doesn't play a big role. It depends more on how closely a manufacturer is connected to the client. How are you focusing on this requisite?

We have invested heavily in Customer Care. About 51% of our monthly sales come through repeat purchases or though references brought in by our existing customer. We have an ongoing method of tracking customer satisfaction 90 days and 300 days after a customer purchases a machine. The latest tracks show over 90% satisfaction with product performance and reliability. We have a practice of tracking every service call. We target to close all service calls within 12 hours of a customer calling in, this is a standard that is set much higher than the industry standard. As of now we are able to close 83% of all service calls within 12 hours. Today we have over 150 dealer sales, service and spare parts outlets. The dealers are backed up by twelve area offices, one mother parts warehouse & ten regional parts warehouses. In addition we have also set up a dedicated Call Centre for service support that can handle nine languages. Customer Centricity and Care is a key factor for success in the construction equipment space.
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