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Rediff.com  » Business » Mahindra SUV's US debut in January

Mahindra SUV's US debut in January

October 10, 2008 12:26 IST

The much-awaited debut of the home-grown sports utility vehicle maker Mahindra & Mahindra in the United States may materialise as early as January next year.

The company already sells medium-to-high powered tractors in the US market.

Although the exact date of launching the vehicles in the US was not revealed, company sources said that the launch will take place in January.

Going places

  • The US is the largest automobile market in the world with annual sales of 13 million units
  • M&M's entry comes at a time when people are shifting their preference to fuel-efficient cars
  • The launch of M&M SUVs was supposed to take place in 2007 or early this year
  • Emission norms and fuel-efficiency are the two key  areas where M&M SUVs will have to match the US standards.

Recently, Pawan Goenka, president (automotive sector), M&M, was in the US, where authorities are considering M&M proposal.

Emission norms and fuel-efficiency are the two major areas where M&M SUVs will have to match the US standards.

The matter becomes a little more complicated as even in the US, there are different norms in different states.

The US is the largest automobile market in the world with annual sales of 13 million units. M&M's entry into the US market is expected at a time when people are shifting their preference to small and fuel-efficient cars.

In addition, due to tighter monetary restrictions imposed by the Federal Reserve Bank, consumers are finding it difficult to access loans.

M&M had appointed Global Vehicles as its distributor for SUVs in the US in 2006, a first by an Indian company.

The launch of M&M SUVs was supposed to take place in 2007 or early this year. But the company's proposal to enter the US market was delayed by Chrysler, which threatened to sue the Indian company for copying the front grill from its popular brand Jeep.

"We have made remarkable progress in meeting emission requirements (in the US). We will have targets about the fuel-efficiency in the US market with concepts like hybrids," says Anand Mahindra, managing director, M&M. The reason behind M&M opting out of the race to acquire Hummer from owners General Motors, according to Mahindra, was its image of fuel guzzler.

"Increasingly, people around the world will opt to do business with companies which have been environment conscious. We see a trend among the Indian companies to follow this model," added Mahindra.

The reason behind M&M opting out of the race to acquire iconic US brand Hummer from owners General Motors, according to Mahindra, was its image of fuel guzzler.

M&M has been consciously working on fuel-efficiency and environmental safety aspects even before the company planned its foray into the US market, Mahindra said.

Swaraj Baggonkar in Mumbai
Source: