Mahindra and Mahindra has initiated talks with the Korean automobile major Ssangyong to launch the seven-seater sports utility vehicle, Rexton, in India.
M&M seems keen on replicating the success it is enjoying with the Scorpio in the SUV segment, and cash in on the new imported-SUV segment, which has seen four new launches from multinationals in the last five months.
M&M's executive director and president, automotive sector, Alan Durante, told Business Standard: "We are in discussions with Ssangyong. It will all depend on the price at which we can offer the Rexton."
Durante said the final call on the alliance was yet to be taken. The company will either bring in the cars as completely built units or as semi or completely-knocked down kits and assemble them locally.
Sources familiar with the development said the car would be priced in the Rs 15-18 lakh (Rs 1.5-1.8 million) range and will come fitted with the Ssangyong IDI 2874 cc turbo-diesel engine.
The car is also considerably smaller than most of the other imported SUVs currently crowding Indian roads.
The Rexton is a relatively new international product, which was launched in the Korean local market in 2001.
Ssangyong, which used to be a part of the Daewoo group, is now an independent company that specialises in SUVs.
The company sells its vehicles in Western Europe, China, New Zealand, South Africa and Malaysia.
There has been a deluge of imported SUVs in the Indian market in the recent past with Maruti's Grand Vitara, Hyundai's Terracan, Honda's CRV and General Motors' Forester vying for attention in what is essentially a niche segment.
Most of these foreign beauties are priced in the Rs 14.9-19 lakh (Rs 1.49-1.9 million) range and are imported as CBUs.