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Old 5th April 2004, 16:37   #1
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The Sonalika Group, makers of the Sonalika range tractors, said on Tuesday that it has signed a technical collaboration agreement with MG Rover Group Ltd., U.K.'s largest independent auto maker, to manufacture a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) to be launched next year. This marks the Group's foray into the SUV segment, a move supported by a Rs2bn investment, the unlisted tractor maker said in a statement.

Announcing the plans L.D.Mittal, Chairman, International Cars & Motors Ltd. said, "Our entry into this segment is driven by our research which indicates that there is a large market for SUVs in India. An offering that is superior in technology and highly competitive in pricing will create an entirely new market both for current car users who will upgrade to the SUV segment as well as for non-users. The potential is immense and more importantly, untapped."

"We are proud to be partnering with MG Rover, and we believe that the marriage of Rover's technical excellence and experience in the field with our superior capabilities will produce a vehicle that will exceed all expectations. I am very excited," he added.

Commenting on the occasion, Michael J. Booth, Corporate Head - Product Development, MG Rover, UK, said, "We are delighted to be asked by Sonalika Group to provide technical collaboration on this project. It is another example of the international recogonition of the engineering skills we have in the MG Rover Group."

The SUV, slated to hit Indian roads in the first quarter of 2005, would be manufactured under the banner of a newly formed Group company - International Cars & Motors Ltd, said Sonalika.

The new 100-acre facility to be set up at Himachal Pradesh - a Tax Free Zone, would have a state-of-the-art assembly line, and an annual capacity of 24,000 vehicles in the first phase, it added.

Moreover, the Sonalika Group signed a long term collaboration agreement with Powertrain Ltd., Britain's largest independent power unit manufacturer.

As per the deal with Powertrain, International Cars & Motors has been granted a manufacturing license to build a new common rail diesel engine and six speed gearbox.

These engines would be used in the new SUV, said sonalika adding that the agreement allows International Cars & Motors to provide assemblies and components to Powertrain.

The engines would be manufactured at a new engine plant in Himachal Pradesh, said Sonalika.

Commenting on the tie up, Fraser Welford - Winton, Managing Director, PowerTrain Ltd. said, "Sonalika are experienced in working with European companies and operating to global quality and cost targets. In addition the cultures and sizes of the two companies are very compatible in making this a win-win situation."

Set up in 1968, the Rs10bn Sonalika group is the parent to International Tractors Ltd., one of the world's foremost tractor manufacturers. Its key product - the Sonalika Tractor with Euro II compliant engines - has become a household name in the farming community in India.

The MG Rover Group is the U.K.'s largest independent car manufacturer with over 100 years experience in building passenger, sports and racing cars.

Power Train Ltd. is a leading U.K. engine manufacturer supplying global brands such as Land Rover, MG, Rover, Lotus, Caterham Cars, Gibbs Technologies and other customers.

Both MG Rover Group and Power Train are a part of the US$3.5bn Phoenix Venture Holdings Ltd.


Source : India Infoline
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Old 5th April 2004, 17:56   #2
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Quite some news there but any idea as to under what brand name that SUV is gonna come... Rover??

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Old 5th April 2004, 19:21   #3
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Though I am all for new manufacturers entering the automotive scenario in India, I cant say the same for this new venture. Mahindra took 6 years to develop the Scorpio, and Tata approximately the same for the Indica. What kind of an end-product should we expect in just a years work? Agreed Rover is offering its "technical expertise" to this project, but thats only because Rover needs the money right now and is offering a part of its knowledge resources. Rover is NOT offering anything more to this project.

Who is going to have heard of Int'l Motor cars name...and how will they offer a service backup for these Sports Utility Vehicles? If its a MUV they are focussing on, these generally garner a significant amount of their sales from semi-urban and rural areas...the concern is how far this service network will spread.

Mahindra & Mahindra alongwith Tata already had an enviable reach across the length and breadth of India. Skoda (VW) and Toyota had the deepest pockets to invest in such infrastructure. I am really concerned about this company starting from scratch.

The only silver lining is the CRDi engine and 6 speed gearbox they speak about...

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Old 5th April 2004, 21:13   #4
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I think it is not that easy to penetrate in to MUV market now as most of the manufacturers are trying their best to get their share .
Ford
GM
Toyota
M&M
Tata

So where they are going to end up without any service network
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Old 6th April 2004, 00:36   #5
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I just hope Tata or HM or any manufacturer takes up the project. Small companies spend a lot of money on developing and R&D and when everythings ready, they are bankrupt and do not have enuf cash to roll out the models they had earlier promised.
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Old 6th April 2004, 00:50   #6
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Well GTO, the Indica took exactly 36 months (35 i think) to get completed. Infact the speed at which it completed the project was astonishing considering Tata's tendency to be rather slow

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Old 6th April 2004, 01:29   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]the Indica took exactly 36 months (35 i think) to get completed.
I stand corrected,

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