India’s Mahindra buys Reva stake as GM exits
Leading Indian utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has agreed to buy a majority stake in Reva Electric Car Co. Ltd., the companies said Wednesday, as General Motors exits its partnership with the pioneering electric car company.
Mahindra’s global ambitions are growing and the deal gives it entry into the worldwide market for electric vehicles, which has attracted players including Nissan, Toyota, Ford and General Motors.
“Our association with Reva will only help us further expand our green footprint both in India and overseas,” Mahindra & Mahindra managing director Anand Mahindra said in a statement.
Under the deal, signed Wednesday, Mahindra will acquire 55.2 percent of the company, to be renamed Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicle Co.
The full financial terms were not disclosed, but Mahindra will buy part of the founder’s stake and invest an additional 450 million rupees ($9.5 million).
General Motors premiered an electric version of the Chevrolet Spark, a mini-car made just for India, powered by Reva technology at the January auto show in New Delhi. It was the product of more than a year of collaboration between the two companies.
That car now won’t be produced, and GM won’t be able to launch an electric car in India by year’s end as it had planned, said Karl Slym, president of General Motors India.
GM decided to scale back its collaboration with Reva earlier this year to make just a test fleet of vehicles, rather than cars for sale, to allow more time for testing, he said.
“Now we’ve stopped the test fleet as well,” Slym said by phone. “We were doing it purely as something to learn. Now there’s no real benefit to that. We may as well stay with the GM solutions.”
GM plans to launch the Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle, in North America later this year.
Deepesh Rathore, an auto analyst at IHS Global Insight in New Delhi, said that although Reva does not have the most up-to-date technology, the purchase gives Mahindra a low-cost platform to build on.
“Instead of starting from zero, they are starting from one,” he said.
He said Reva’s technology is a decade old and never took off in electricity-starved India.
“They don’t bring any cutting-edge technology,” he said. “They’re not in the league of Nissan’s Leaf or Chevrolet’s Volt.”
Reva launched its first electric vehicle in 2001 in the southern Indian technology hub of Bangalore. It is a joint venture between Bangalore’s Maini Group and California’s AEV LLC.
Reva founder Chetan Maini will stay on as chief of technology and strategy.
In the last decade, Reva has put over 3,500 vehicles on the road, many of them in London, where they are sold under the G-Wiz brand.
Mahindra plans to launch the first made-in-India vehicle in the United States in December. The compact truck will be sold through a network of 250 dedicated dealers.
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