By Sudarshan Varadhan, Aditi Shah and Ben Klayman CHENNAI / NEW DELHI / DETROIT (Reuters) – Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd has cut more than half the workforce at its North American unit, two sources familiar with the news told Reuters. the matter, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing legal fight. The sources did not give a figure for the number of jobs lost at the company, which had more than 500 employees in early 2020, according to its website. However, one of the sources said that “hundreds of workers” had been laid off since mid-2020 as part of a restructuring, and that the cuts amounted to two-thirds of Mahindra Automotive North America’s (MANA) total staffing. Positions include engineers and manufacturing jobs at its Detroit plant that produces the Roxor off-road vehicle, as well as sales executives. The cuts come when Mahindra overhauls its businesses in an attempt to conserve capital and retain only those that generate income or have the potential to be profitable. MANA said in a statement that it had laid off some employees and laid off others due to the pandemic and a lawsuit from the International Trade Commission that led to a “cease and desist” order in August for Roxor’s business. He did not provide figures. Mahindra and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) are in a protracted legal battle over an intellectual property infringement case that has prevented the Indian automaker from selling its Roxor vehicle in the United States. “This forced us to stop production and lay off our manufacturing team and a few additional people in various roles, including the Roxor sales team,” the company said. However, last month, the company obtained a favorable ruling in its lawsuit against FCA, paving the way for it to start selling the Roxor again. He now hopes to retire a large group of employees, he said in the statement. As part of its overhaul that began last year, Mahindra has shut down its US GenZe electric scooter business; is in talks to sell its stake in South Korean automaker Ssangyong Motor; and canceled a joint venture with Ford Motor (NYSE 🙂 Co. Mahindra shares have risen more than 60% since it announced the review in June last year, valuing the company at more than $ 12.6 billion. The automaker plans to focus on making large sport utility vehicles and electric models for its core Indian market, where it has lost ground to competitors such as Tata Motors (NYSE 🙂 and Kia Motors.