Not content with its expanding footprint across smaller markets, Mahindra & Mahindra is planning to launch passenger vehicles in the US – the world''s largest auto market. The company is currently considering the SUV model Scorpio and a pick-up truck for the US market by 2008, according to a front page article in influential US automotive journal Automotive News.
If true, M&M would become the first Indian auto company to launch passenger vehicles in the US under its won brand. The company already assembles and markets tractors in the US under its own label.
M&M has appointed Global Vehicles USA as its distributor in US, according to the report. The distributor is currently scouting for dealers across key states. Global Vehicles is also the distributor of Mahindra tractors.
The fact that M&M is planning a US entry indicates that the next upgrade for the Scorpio would have substantial improvements in terms of engine and transmission, safety features and handling. M&M is reportedly working on an upgraded engine for the Scorpio, which would be launched some time next year.
M&M is understood to be working on a major design makeover for the Scorpio. The model has not seen a major upgrade, except for the recent cosmetic uplift, since launch many years back. It is likely that the upgraded version would be launched by 2008 in the domestic markets as well
M&M is already marketing the Scorpio in many markets, including some European countries and South Africa. The company had launched a pick-up truck based on the Scorpio, not available in the domestic market, in South Africa recently. The pick-up truck for the US markets is also likely to be based on the Scorpio.
Its JV with Renault would give access to superior engine and transmission technology, which would be vital in the US markets. The proposed 5-lakh units per annum plant by the Renault – M&M JV would also offer a state of the art plant to manufacture vehicles for the export market.