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Mahindra plans to double investment in US

© AFP | Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group announced plans for $1 billion in additional investment in the US, adding thousands of jobs

NEW YORK (AFP) - 

Indian conglomerate Mahindra Group plans to double its US investment in the next five years, where it is hoping to its two-wheel electric scooters will win over American millennials.

"We're very bullish," executive chairman Anand Mahindra told reporters. "We're going to double our bets here."

The company plans $1 billion in additional investment, executives said.

Mahindra, which operates globally in 10 sectors including aerospace, farm equipment and financial services, already has invested $1 billion in the United States, where it has 3,000 employees.

The biggest group of workers is in information services with 2,300, which is projected to grow to 5,000 as the company steps up recruitment at US universities.

The company also plans to make additional hires in North American tractors and autos, officials said.

Mahindra said he was taking a nuanced view of US environmental politics, planning to co-chair a climate summit with California Governor Jerry Brown in spite of President Donald Trump's vow to exit the Paris climate agreement.

"America is not just Washington DC. America is very complex."

The company is manufacturing a fleet of electric two-wheel bikes and scooters that executives describe as potential transportation disruptors.

Mahindra's GenZe e-bike and e-scooter brand announced a partnership Monday with Postmates, an on-demand delivery system in New York and San Francisco that could be expanded to 200 cities. The scooters are produced at a plant in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The vehicles are fast becoming more popular in Europe, though Mahindra managing director Pawan Goenka conceded the US as a "car crazy country," remained a greater challenge.

Mahindra offered a strong endorsement of the Indian government's setting of a 2030 target for all-electric cars, although he said the objective was "aspirational."

"In India, we've suffered from a poverty of aspirations, not just a poverty of income," Mahindra said.

But lower battery costs will help accelerate the uptake of electric cars, an essential outcome for India, he said.

He said the prospect of 250 to 300 million households owning conventional cars is "a nightmare for the globe, not just for India."

"You're going to have to move towards fleet sharing and you're going to have to move towards electric."

© 2017 AFP