PAL trying to get back into the game with Rio?

12/10/2009 - 19:32 | ,  ,  ,  ,   | Gaurav Sikri

daihatsu teriosWill a mini SUV get Mahindra and Tata interested to develop their own?

Premier Auto Limited (PAL) is attempting to get back in the game. Those of you who don't remember this name, Premier Auto Limited (PAL) is the company which gave us the Premier Padmini a few years ago.

The Company plans to make a come back after 9 years with an interesting idea -- to produce the Cheapest SUV in India till date.

This is set to be another 'cheapest' after the Tata Nano.

A Chinese four-wheeler company Zotye Auto will join hands with PAL in this new project. It is for the first time a Chinese automobile maker has tied up with an Indian company to produce a passenger car.

Zotye Auto is not a well known name. Zotye Auto will supply vehicle kits from China to Premier to be assembled at the Pune facility which has a peak annual capacity of 20,000 units.

The Compact SUV will be named Rio or Terra. The base model is priced around 5 lakhs. The Rio in truth is a first-generation Daihatsu Terios, which was produced between 1997 to 2005. Zotye purchased the tools from Daihatsu and uses it to produce the car in China and other markets.

Premier Auto will fit its own four-cylinder, 1.5 diesel engine and mate it to a 5-speed manual gearbox that can produce a power of 65 bhp. Drive will go to the rear wheels.

This SUV is rumored to be 30% cheaper than the base Mahindra Scorpio. The high end version would come with safety features like ABS and Airbags and that model will be priced around 7 lakh rupees.

Questions we ask PAL/Zotye as of today -

- Where can I buy this car?

- Where would I service this car?

- What happens if my headlamp is broken and I need replacement?

- What if I want to sell the vehicle after two years?

- Would the car be reliable?

- Will a Chinese car sell in India?

- Considering PAL's turbulent history, can I trust them?

- Considering Toyota's possible introduction of Daihatsu in India, the second generation Terios could be sold in the future. Wouldn't that make it an interesting situation?

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