With Dhoni On Board, Swaraj Tractors On Aspiration Drive

Murali Gopalan
05 Jun 2023
06:45 PM
3 Min Read

The charismatic cricketer, riding high on the latest IPL triumph, is seen as the best bet to expand Swaraj Tractors’ customer base.

MSD As Brand Ambassador For Swaraj Tractors

MS Dhoni will turn 42 next month but his brand appeal remains even stronger than ever. This was more than evident during the recent IPL (Indian Premier League) tourney when the crowds went delirious each time the captain of the triumphant Chennai Super Kings stepped out on the field.

Dhoni was recently roped in by Swaraj Tractors, a division of the Mahindra group, as its brand ambassador. Rajesh Jejurikar, ED & CEO, Auto and Farm Sectors, M&M, explained why this made sense in the context of the Swaraj brand’s existing DNA of power and dependability. 

“Now we need modernity (in Swaraj) to make it aspirational. There are newer people coming into farming along with those from different professions,” he continued. Dhoni, also known as Mahi, MSD and Captain Cool, is the more celebrated entrant into this domain and will now endorse Swaraj Tractors.

The press meet in Mumbai also featured a brief video where Dhoni was interviewed on his interest in farming. He said this began just before the COVID-induced lockdown in 2020 where his 40-acre farm in Ranchi is home to watermelons, papayas, grapes, apples, pineapples, ginger, etc. No prizes for guessing that Dhoni has opted for a Swaraj tractor since it is the perfect fit for his farm.

A company official told this writer that the cricketer knew exactly what he was talking about. “I spent a lot of time with Dhoni and was absolutely amazed by his knowledge and sharp focus. More than anything else, he is so level-headed and humble that it leaves you admiring him even more,” he elaborated.

Other Brand Endorsements 

In the automotive space, Dhoni has been the brand ambassador for TVS Motor and Ashok Leyland with tractors now being the latest addition. Post-IPL, his charisma has grown even further even though it has been some years now since he called it a day from Test cricket and pretty much every other form of the game except for IPL’s T20 format.

Jejurikar was, therefore, spot-on when he said a whole lot of professionals were now entering the farm arena and it was important for the Swaraj brand to reach out to this new pool of tractor buyers. Dhoni will now be the face of Swaraj when it comes to modernity and aspiration combined with technology.

Gone are the days when farmers were quite content with what they were offered in farm machinery. Today’s generation is way more fastidious about technology and design even in their tractors, while being doubly aware of issues like global warming and new irrigation systems.

Swaraj Traget

Beyond this, said Hemant Sikka, President, Farm Equipment Sector, M&M, horticulture is growing faster than food grains since it is in greater demand and also generates more income to farmers. The people at the Punjab-based Swaraj Tractors understand this a lot better since their families have links with farming and there is a strong connection in the process. 

Ideal For Horticulture 

The company’s latest offering, Target, operates in the 20-30 hp range which is ideal for horticulture. “This is a lightweight tractor and works well in fields where large tractors find it tough,” said Sikka. It is also efficient when it comes to spraying and is comfortable to handle. 

More importantly, the 20-30 hp category is growing fast and is a “white space” for Swaraj. Prior to its launch, the company carried out over 1,500 sessions with customers to understand their needs and had them incorporated in the tractor. 

This exhaustive study was carried out in eight States and it was clear to the Swaraj management that today’s farmers were way more progressive and aspirational than their predecessors, while being more willing to spend on a good product. They wanted a machine that could carry out heavy spraying in tough conditions with comfortable seating. The other priority was to have multiple uses in different applications.

The company took this feedback and began working on the Target while focusing on its core strengths of “unmatched power, latest technology, easy gear shifting and the best cooling system”. As a company official remarked, Swaraj is about being authentic, powerful, reliable and durable. “Our key purpose is to enhance the lives of farmers,” he said.

What followed was over 10,000 hours of testing with more than 100 users. At 29 hp, Target also offers good lift capacity and high torque, added the official. It comes with a six year warranty and costs INR 5.35 lakh.

Momentous Occasion

“This is a momentous occasion for us and marks the beginning of an exciting portfolio for Swaraj,” said Jejurikar. Sikka added that the Target’s competitive pricing was also thanks to frugal engineering, capitalising on economies of scale with Mahindra, and also focusing on localisation with suppliers.

The company’s new plant in Mohali will be commissioned over the next two quarters of this fiscal and will be the third in its kitty. Going forward, there will be new product platforms which will align with the future needs of farmers.

Swaraj will first put out the Target in Maharashtra and Karnataka for horticulture applications before it heads out to other parts of the country. Company officials also reiterated that it was not a North Indian brand as commonly perceived and remains a strong draw in most regions across the subcontinent. 

Dhoni’s presence will assure that even this imagery is overcome given his own track record as someone whose roots are in Ranchi but is clearly the favourite resident of Chennai. His recent passion for farming will, of course, go hand-in-hand with cricket even while his loyal fan base will be rooting for his return in the next edition of IPL.

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