India's Scorpio drives to the U.S

By siliconindia   |   Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 06:00 Hrs
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Mumbai: Mahindra & Mahindra, the automobile major gears up to drive its Scorpio into the North American market soon, which is the world's largest market for sports utility vehicles (SUV).

M&M is the first Indian automaker to enter the highly competitive American vehicle market. The company has also signed a distribution agreement with Global Vehicles, U.S for distribution of M&M vehicles and accessories. The network consists of 130 dealers with expansion plans of getting to around 200 by the time of the launch.

The company's engineering team is working to make the "Scorpio" as per the stringent US norms. It has been crash-tested in Europe but not in US. M&M is looking to launch an upgraded version of its SUV and pick-up in US, the exact date to be announced in April 2007.

The SUVs and pick-up market in the US is around 6-7 m vehicles a year. But this market has faced a slowdown since its peak in '02 mainly because of rocketing fuel prices and general preference for smaller cars. Local auto major General Motors and Ford were worst hit by the slump.

"We launched the Scorpio in India in 2002 and took it to South Africa in 2004. We entered the European market 15 months ago and going to North America was the most rational step in making our company truly global. Close to half of the global sales in SUVs and pick-ups are in the US and we want to capture a fraction of that, to start with" said Pawan Goenka, the company's President for the Automotive sector.

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