Car news

19 December 2012

Exclusive: ICML readies its 'World Car'

Tractor-maker Sonalika's passenger car division is all set to unleash its first-ever sedan mid-2013

Ashish Masih
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Here’s some heart-warming news coming in from sadda Punjab. Hoshiarpur-based International Cars & Motors Ltd (ICML), the passenger car division of the tractor maker Sonalika, is all-set to launch its first luxury car by mid-2013. This will be its second passenger vehicle after the Rhino MPV, which the company launched way back in 2006.

We’ve got confirmed reports from dealerships in Punjab that the ‘world car’ (as Sonalika likes to put it) is in the final stage of its test cycles and the final product should be ready by mid-2013. The car will be powered by a 2-litre common rail diesel engine that will generate around 120-130bhp of power and between 280-320Nm of torque. The engine will be BSIV compliant and can easily be set up for BS V norms as well. There won’t be any petrol engine initially.

But before you think that this is also going to be another Rhino-like (which borrowed liberally from the defunct Toyota Qualis) styled car, let us inform you that Sonalika has roped in Pininfarina for styling inputs to keep things classy. Lotus Engineering has also played a part in helping with the suspension and other dynamic aspects of the car and we’ve learnt that the refinement levels of the engine are up there with the class best.

Though we aren’t sure about exact size, we’ve come to learn that the car will slot in between the Chevrolet Cruze and the Honda Accord in terms of space and size but will be priced in the Corolla category, which means a price of between Rs 12-14 lakh, which also means that it should be cost competitive and Sonalika will be playing the value card.

This car was originally slated to be launched in late 2011/early 2012, but was delayed because Sonalika, which only has expertise in selling farm and agricultural equipment, had no previous experience in selling a car did not know how to position this luxury car. Also, the slow economy didn’t help matters. It also wanted the product to be perfect from day one, unlike the Rhino, which suffered from some quality issues when launched way back in early 2006.

The company is hoping that the car will find plenty of takers in the North, especially states like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir, where the company is well known for its tractor and agricultural products range.

Would you shell out big bucks for a Sonalika luxury sedan, TopGearers?

Tags: rhino, sonalika, icml

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