Trying to move away from its image of a maker of rural vehicles such as three-wheelers, vans and trucks, Force Motors has said it will enter the personal segment with a range of utility vehicles.
The company will launch its first sports utility vehicle 'Force One' in 4 to 5 weeks, followed by a premium multi-purpose vehicle in 2012 and an offroader in 2013.
From the Mahindra Bolero to Range Rover Freelander, there are over two dozen vehicles in the SUV/MUV space accounting for around 3,50,000 units a year. This fiscal year is set to see about half a dozen new launches, including Mahindra's 'World SUV', Renault Duster, Honda CRV Diesel and Range Rover Evoque.
Abhay Firodia, MD, Force Motors said the company plans to position the SUV, which runs on a Mercedes drivetrain, between Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Safari. "We expect to clock 4000 units in the first year and 8,000-9000 for the second year," he said.
Force has invested Rs 150 crore to build the manufacturing facility at Pithampur with 12,000 unit per annum capacity which can be expanded to 18000-20000. Firodia said the company will spend another Rs 40 crore for developing a sales and backup network and promotional activities.
The 2.2 litre Mercedes diesel engine will be locally produced under license. He said the new SUV will have 70-75% local content. "All key parts including driveline, suspension, chassis and motor will be sourced from reputed local suppliers. The only major element we are sourcing is body. Stamped sheet metal parts will come to India and will be assembled," he said.