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Force Motors launches SUV

Mumbai, Aug. 21: Force Motors has ventured into the passenger segment with the launch of Force One, a sports utility vehicle (SUV) having Mercedes’s engine and gear box.

The Rs 5,000-crore company has so long operated in the commercial vehicle segment and has established brands such as the Tempo, Matador and the Traveller.

“This is a natural evolution for us. We have the expertise and are prepared to manufacture large people carrier in the personal vehicle segment,” said Prasan Firodia, managing director of Force Motors, while launching the vehicle in Mumbai. Force Motors has an operating licence from Daimler AG Germany and assembles their OM616 engine at the company’s Pithampur plant in Madhya Pradesh.

“The collaboration with Daimler has been for 40 years now. We assemble their OM616 engines here in India which are used in their C-Class and E-Class sedans. This gives us a technological advantage and know-how that will be used in manufacturing a true-blue SUV with a worldclass driveline,” said Firodia.

The company will manufacture the 2.2 litre CRDi engine that will power Force One and the gearbox under the Daimler licence. “The localisation levels in this car is 76 per cent. We are only importing the fuel injection system and body panels,” added Firodia.

Priced at Rs 10.65 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi), Force One will compete in the Scorpio and Tata Safari segment. The company will add a 4x4 wheel drive variant in March and a variant with ABS (anti-lock braking system) and EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution) in December next year. It will also launch a multi-utility vehicle (MUV) on a new platform borrowed from the Viano of Mercedes-Benz in mid-2013. The MUV will be priced between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 15 lakh and will compete with the Innova.

Force Motors will invest Rs 1,000 crore in 2011-12 of which Rs 150 crore has been invested in the Force One. It is spending Rs 50 crore on marketing the vehicle and has signed Amitabh Bachchan as brand ambassador. The company has built a new facility at its Pithampur plant for manufacturing the SUV. The facility has an installed capacity of 12,000 vehicles a year.

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