Mahindra CEO sees U.S. entry for new electric vehicles at least five years away

Mahindra and Mahindra (MAHM.NS), one of India’s oldest automakers, aims to sell its new family of electric SUVs around the globe, but an entry into the U.S. market won’t happen until later in the decade, the chief executive said.

“I don’t see us launching in the U.S. in the next five years,” Anish Shah, Mahindra’s CEO and managing director, said Tuesday in an interview.

A U.S. market entry “could likely be longer than five years because we have to win in some of our key markets first,” including Europe, he added.

Shah said Mahindra, as part of its long-range strategy, is considering whether to build vehicles in North America, to take advantage of incentives built into the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act.

“We will have to think about manufacturing closer to some of the major markets — that is something we will look at,” Shah said. “But this is still far off.”

The company on Wednesday announced plans to build a $1.2 billion EV plant in Pune, near its Mumbai headquarters.

“We are in the process of doubling our capacity” in part to fulfill demand in the Indian market, Shah said. Much of the new capacity is earmarked for electric vehicles, he said.

Mahindra in August unveiled a portfolio of five future electric SUVs, the first of which is slated to go into production in January. All five vehicles will be built on a common architecture that borrows heavily from partner Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) MEB electric vehicle platform.

Shah said Mahindra’s partnership with VW “may take on other forms as it goes forward,” without elaborating.

Mahindra sells tractors and small off-road vehicles in the United States. A 2010 plan to import the company’s diesel-powered Scorpio compact pickups was scuttled before launch.