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Mahindra CERO: Driving the eco-friendly vehicle scrappage revolution in India

The automotive industry has always been a pioneer in terms of technology, and as a part of the Mahindra Group, the organisation shares a profound commitment to sustainability, ensuring the recycling of products to the fullest extent possible. While Mahindra has a substantial presence in the automotive sector, Mahindra Accelo specialises in steel processing. Within this unique convergence of expertise, an opportunity emerged to introduce cutting-edge recycling technology to the Indian automobile industry. This vision laid the foundation for the birth of Mahindra MSTC Recycling Pvt. Ltd. (CERO), a pioneering venture dedicated to transforming the landscape of vehicle scrappage in India.

The mission

A joint venture between Mahindra Accelo and MSTC Limited, CERO, India's first government-authorised vehicle recycler, is on a mission to promote eco-friendly practices and streamline the process of end-of-life vehicle recycling. With a strong focus on customer convenience and sustainability, CERO aims to expand its presence to over 100 cities across India by 2025. At present, CERO has plants in Noida, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Indore, Guwahati, and Chandigarh, along with customer touchpoints in major cities like Kolkata, Mumbai, Bhopal, Jaipur, and Nagpur.

A journey towards sustainability

In 2018, CERO embarked on its journey, aiming to transform the unorganised vehicle scrappage sector in India. With the goal of achieving 'zero waste, zero pollution, and zero hassles,' the company introduced a streamlined three-step ELV recycling process. Customers can easily request a quotation, schedule vehicle collection at their convenience, and receive support for deregistration, enabling them to avail benefits on new vehicle purchases as per government guidelines.

Environmental impact and steel recycling

India is witnessing a surge in end-of-life vehicles, with a projected increase from 28 million to 46 million units over the next five years. CERO recognised that steel, accounting for approximately 70% of a car, represents a significant opportunity for recycling. By recycling this steel, India could save billions of dollars spent on importing steel scrap. Additionally, non-steel parts in old cars are also reclaimed and repurposed.

Strategic expansion

With nine scrappage and recycling plants already operational across major Indian cities, the company plans to establish a presence in over 100 cities by 2025. Each facility has the capacity to scrap approximately 15,000 vehicles annually, a capacity that can be further expanded to meet growing demand. Going forward, CERO plans to expand its existing combined capacity of 300,000 cars to one million combined units as it forays into more cities by 2026-27, subject to policy adoption and demand.

Technology and sustainability

CERO's commitment to sustainability extends beyond steel recycling. The company is actively exploring technologies to recycle plastics, precious metals, and batteries, aligning with the evolving trends of lighter, safer, and cleaner vehicles. CERO believes that technology will be the key differentiator in maximising the value of end-of-life vehicles and offering optimal benefits to customers.

Long-term investment

Recognising that vehicle scrapping is a capital-intensive industry, CERO acknowledges that it will take time to break into profits. The next three to five years will require investments in technology, policy support, and reaching economies of scale. CERO's long-term commitment to the industry remains unwavering.

Policy and awareness

CERO acknowledges the pivotal role of government policies and customer awareness in driving the vehicle scrappage industry in India. With policies like incentives on new vehicle registration and a road tax for scrapping old vehicles, progressive states are laying the foundation for a sustainable future.

The way ahead

Mahindra CERO, through its relentless pursuit of sustainability, technology, and expansion, is poised to lead India's vehicle scrappage industry into a greener and more organised future. With a vision of 'zero waste,' CERO not only contributes to a cleaner environment but also promises a more sustainable future for the nation's automotive sector.

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