ICML planning a 15 lakh sedan


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AMG

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International Cars & Motors Ltd (ICML), the passenger vehicle division of the tractor, agri-implement and engine component maker Sonalika Group, is planning to launch its first car by mid-2012.

This will be a sedan priced around Rs 15 lakh and will be powered by an improved version of its two-litre CRDi diesel engine.

The company, which currently makes only a utility vehicle (UV) – the Rhino – is also working on a mid-segment sports utility vehicle priced at Rs 8-10 lakh.

“We are coming up with many new models very shortly,” Mr L.D. Mittal, Chairman, Sonalika Group, told Business Line. “We're developing a world car – a sedan, which is scheduled for launch around middle of next year. This car will promise all the premium features one sees in European luxury sedans, but at half the price. When we launch this new passenger car range, we may also look at unveiling a new brand altogether.”

For the design of the sedan, ICML is working with the famous Italian design house Pininfarina, while other European experts are supporting other areas of product development.

Pininfarina has designed many iconic models for marquees such as Ferrari, Maserati, Rolls-Royce and Jaguar.

Punjab-based ICML's plans for a largely indigenously developed passenger vehicle portfolio mirrors that of Pune-based automaker Force Motors, which is launching its first passenger vehicle — the Force One SUV — this month. This will be part of the second wave of domestic companies aspiring to become a full-scale car manufacturer after Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors.

Incidentally, Sonalika supplies the same diesel engines to General Motors India for the Tavera UV.

In this fiscal, the Rs 4,000-crore (2010-11) group plans to invest Rs 200 crore in adding capacity at home, product development and setting up new assembly units in Eastern Europe and a few African nations.

“We're also negotiations with some private equity funds to raise money. We are looking to raise Rs 800 crore through a 20 per cent stake dilution in Indian Tractors Ltd – our biggest group company. We hope to complete this within a few months,” Mr Mittal said.
Source: The Hindu Business Line
 
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Well, this is interesting. I'm curious to see how this ambitious plans will turn out. Their first car was a disappointment and even at the price it was unattractive. But the company goes on to make a sedan that costs twice the money of their first car.

Anyways, they should get a brand new logo for starters and even a new name. Sonalika rings the bell of tractors for many.
 

350Z

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Sonalika can be the next big Indian auto-manufacturer after Tata Motors and Mahindra; in the passenger segment given that, their future strategies are planned correctly with a workaholic team behind but, they should not blatantly keep overlapping the models. Their Rhino does have some potential but not sure, as a starter why they are not so keen to effectively market and improve it.

Drive Safe,
350Z
 
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Seems interesting , will wait to see their car.


BTW why did Rhino flop? I guess because of poor marketing , i am sure half the people still don't know a car called Rhino exists!
 
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Rhino fails because of poor marketing.

I believe they are also into some large scale production line ups in the name of Sonalika. I hardly see some 5-10 rhinos in a week in Chennai.
 
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Found this interview with L.D.Mittal who is the Chairman of International Tractors Limited where he talks about this World car

ZigWheels: You have been one of the pioneers in industrial vehicle segment. Entering in the passenger vehicle segment with the Rhino was an ice-breaker. What are the future plans for the passenger vehicle segment?
LD Mittal: We are already developing a vehicle by the name of ‘world car’. That is being done in co-operation with renowned designer Pininfarina. It is at the advanced stages of development and we hope to introduce it next year.

ZW: After the death of Sergio Pininfarina, has the development of the world car been delayed in any way?
LDM: It is quite unfortunate that Sergio passed away. However his brothers were also involved in the project which has not postponed the development at all. Related: Sergio Pininfarina dies aged 85

ZW: As announced during the Auto Expo, the pricing would be very aggressive. Can you shed some light on a estimated price bracket and who will be the prime target audience?
LDM: The market is now shifting to a more premium bracket. The market acceptance for premium brands is high. We will not price the car below 12 lakh, but at the same time offer the quality that is there in a Rs 35 lakh car because such cars are the most cost effective. We will try to provide similar or better quality in the world car

ZW: In terms of handling aftersales, will the existing commercial dealerships be expanded or would there be a completely new chain of showrooms and workshops for to cater to the world car owners?
LDM: We like to encourage our existing dealers. Train them properly, offer infrastructure to be able to cater the world car owners. We must take care of their bread and butter. They have already invested with us. So, we would like to expand and promote our existing dealers.

ZW: Sonalika dealers have been dealing with commercial vehicles will take sometime to adapt to the new training process in order to deal with a premium buyer. Is there a stipulated timeline for the dealers to be trained in? As for a premium car owner, it is more of building a relationship with the company than just buying a car.
LDM: We have already started training of our dealers about all the knowledge of the new vehicle. We also have a prototype in our factory. All the dealers can have a feel of the vehicle before the car reaches showrooms.

ZW: Since the market, even in the premium segment, is now shifting to diesel, are you planning on entering the premium space with a diesel engine only or a petrol engine option is also on the cards?
LDM: We will debut the world car in diesel only. Now the technology behind building diesel engines is more reliable, refined and offers better driveability.

ZW: Any other vehicles besides the world car that are on the drawing board for the future?
LDM: We are also planning for a pick-up truck that will cater as a small commercial vehicle and connect between rural and urban areas. And the focus for the pick-up will be primarily rural and semi rural areas.

ZW: Competition has matured a lot compared to Sonalika in the passenger vehicle segment. And with the aggressive market and brand dependability, what challenges do you feel are present to change the buyer’s perception?
LDM: Given the passenger vehicle segment, there can be different perceptions to the challenges that we face. In order to drive the buyer towards us, we have to first of all price our product aggressively and as discussed earlier, we have to build a relationship with the buyer.

Interview with LD Mittal, Chairman, Sonalika| ZigWheels.com
 
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