Prior to the mid-1990s, Mahindra & Mahindra was an automobile assembly company. The company manufactured Willys Jeeps and its minor modified versions, with modifications carried out in India. In 1996, the company planned to enter the SUV segment with a new product which could compete globally. Since M&M did not have the technical knowhow to handle such an ambitious product, they devised an entirely new concept among Indian auto companies. Roping in new executives who had worked in the auto industry in western countries, such as Pawan Goenka and Alan Durante, the company broke the rule that says automakers must design, engineer and test their own vehicles while spending millions of dollars in the process.