Indian vehicle manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra plans to enter the South African market as part of its globalisation strategy, the automotive giant announced on Tuesday.

Indian vehicle manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra plans to enter the South African market as part of its globalisation strategy, the automotive giant announced on Tuesday.

Mahindra and Mahindra, the world’s fifth largest tractor manufacturer, has initial plans to launch its Bolero truck and Scorpio SUV on the South African market. Although the South African market is relatively small by global standards, the company is confident that sales are growing at a pace that would justify its investment here.

Mahindra & Mahindra vice chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra said the plan was to use South Africa as the company’s base to expand its business into the rest of Africa. It also planned to set up a vehicle manufacturing plant, though this would only be feasible once the company achieved annual local sales of 5 000 units.

He added that Mahindra had been preparing for its South African entry for about a year by creating dealership and service networks. The group was in the process of finalising dealership agreements in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, and its service network would have national coverage.

Alan Durante, executive director of the group's automotive sector, said there were plans to introduce a truck aimed primarily at entrepreneurs. Mahindra added that besides the group's plans to introduce its range of tractors into SA, it was also looking to expand its other ventures here, including financial services, information technology and component manufacturing.

Late last month, another Indian motor manufacturer, Tata Motors, announced its entry into the South African market, unveiling a host of passenger cars, LCVs, buses and trucks it plans to export to the country.

The light commercial vehicles are already on sale in South Africa through Tata's distributors, but the rest will be displayed at the Auto Africa Expo in Johannesburg in October, and should become available before the end of the year.