ICML to launch luxury car next year – Is it the re-engineered Chery Easter Cross?

Shrawan

Shrawan Raja, I'm the Founder & CEO of IndianAutosBlog.com. I love teamwork and talking about cars.

The makers of the Rhino MUV, International Cars & Motors Ltd (ICML), are gearing up to launch a new luxury car in 2013, according to a report on Top Gear India.

Chery Easter Cross side viewChery Easter Cross dashboard

ICML, better known for making Sonalika tractors and farm equipments, is trying to make a comeback into the personal vehicles space. The company showcased the SUV concept ‘Inspire’ way back at the 2008 Auto Expo, and while there are no signs of a production model yet, ICML displayed two pickup trucks on the Rhino platform – Oyster and Windy – at this year’s Delhi Auto Expo.

ICML also inked an engine supply deal with GM India last year. GM sources the Tavera’s 2L BS4-ready diesel engine from ICML, launched initially on the Rhino.

Top Gear reports that the luxury car is in its final test cycles and expects a mid-2013 launch. A 2-litre CRDI engine (likely the existing engine) pumping out 120-130bhp of power and between 280-320Nm of torque compatible to BSV regulations will sit under the hood. Sonalika terms the launch as the ‘world car’.

Sonalika has roped in Pininfarina, the Italian design firm responsible for all famous Ferraris, to give styling inputs. Suspension system experts Lotus Engineering were called in to sort out the ride comfort, and Top Gear learns that refinement levels are pretty impressive, in fact class topping!

TG expects the ‘world car’ to sit in the Rs 12-14 lakh bracket.

Back in October, our reader Mayur Kabra spotted the Chery Easter Cross testing in Jaisalmer sporting Himachal Pradesh registered number plates accompanied by Rhino MPVs used as support cars carrying data logging equipment. Sonalika has assembly lines in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. These evidences suggested that ICML’s engineers were out testing the Chery.

Will a redesigned, re-engineered, diesel-engined Chery Easter Cross be ICML’s ‘world car’? Will the Chery Easter Cross join other Chinese-rooted cars on Indian roads such as the Force One (Foday Explorer) and the Premier Rio (Zotye 5008, which in turn is a Daihatsu Terios)?

Omitting the cost of constructing a manufacturing facility, it takes a car company four years and roughly 1,000 crore rupees to launch a whole new product. Before going for a big ticket investment, ICML may test the market with remade cars. But to realize the goal of launching an indigenous product like the Inspire concept aspired or proposed back in 2008, the Easter Cross could serve as the first step.

[Source – Topgear.com]

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