Sonalika Group Make Substantial Investment To Improve Tractors And Motors 01/08/2007

The Rs 3,000 nuclear Sonalika Group is planning an to take further action in expanding another one of its businesses – this time the development will be dedicated to it utility vehicle and farm equipment businesses, for example tractors. It has been estimated that Rs 1,150 crore will be invested into the project over the next three years. The investment is to be split two ways. Part of the finances will go to International Cars and Motors (ICML) and the rest of it will go toward the International Tractors (ITL).

The chairman of Sonalika Group, LD Mittal has said ‘amount of Rs 700 crore will be invested in ICML towards capacity expansion, enhancing its design facility and development of a new sports utility vehicle. ITL, meanwhile will invest about Rs 450 crore on setting up a new tractor manufacturing unit in south India, besides doubling capacity of its current facility at Hoshiarpur in Punjab to 80,000 units per annum. The expansion would particularly attract an investment of Rs 150 crore.’

The new plant, which would be designed being able to hold the capacity of approximately 40,000 units would mean an investment of Rs 250-300 crore. This plan has meant that the company have had to write to the Tamil Nadu government , Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka proposing the following ‘‘We are looking at setting up a greenfield tractor manufacturing plant in south India,’ Mittal said.

The main aim for the outcome of the ICML’s Rs 700 crore investment is to enhance product development and to increase utility manufacturing capacity at Una in Himachal Pradesh. New developments have been made on a new sport utility vehicle, which the company are expecting to be launched in a couple of years. Managing Director, ICML, Deepak Mittal said, ‘We have kept aside an amount of Rs 200-250 crore the new SUV. Besides, the company is expanding the utility vehicle manufacturing capacity at Una to 60,000 units per annum. It could require an investment of about Rs 250 crore,’ he added.

As well as the above progress the company has also been busy launching a modernised version of it MUV tractor, Rhino Rx. This is expected to sell between Rs 5.85 lakh na dR 6.95 lakh (ex-showroom Dehi).

Three different varieties will be available of the new modification. These will be S1, S2 and DLX. The company expect to double the amount of it customers by the end of the year, from the existing 100 that are located all over the country to 200. Sales of the car are expected to start in September and it has been thought by top sources that the company plans to sell 10,000 units in the remaining time of this year. The sale forecast is to sell 2000 units per month or 24,000 units per annum.

The company is hoping that the product will be available throughout the country by the end of the year, but for the meanwhile it will be available in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi.

ICML are looking at carrying out exports for markets in Malaysia, Indonesia and Africa as soon as the Euro 3 compliant version has been confirmed, as this is a current obstacle in terms of being able to sell their products further a field.

A G1 series of injection intercooled diesel engine has been installed under the hood of the Rhino Rx. The engine, which complies to Euro 3, has been produced alongside the MG Rover in the UK.

A newly modernised exterior and interior is one of the highlights of the Rhino Rx, this includes an improved air conditioning system for single AC as well as having dual AC models. The steering gear has been adjusted to ensure better stability and improved ride and handling at high speed. The interior cosmetic appearance has also been modified.

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