Indian automaker targets U.S. market with Scorpio SUV

India-based Mahindra & Mahindra is considering exporting its light utility vehicles to the U.S., perhaps as early as 2007. According to AutoWeek, the company is trying to establish a network of 200 dealers to sell its flagship Scorpio SUV.

Mahindra already exports the Scorpio to a number of countries, including Malaysia, South Africa, Russia, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal. In Europe, the car is known as the Mahindra Goa. This won't be the company's first exposure to the U.S. market - Mahindra USA opened its doors in 1994 to assemble and market the company's line of tractors.

The latest version of the Scorpio was launched earlier this year, and comes in seven- and eight-seat configurations, with either 2WD or 4WD powertrains. The standard powerplant for the Scorpio is a 2.6-liter common-rail turbodiesel, but the company is said to be adding a gasoline engine sourced from Renault, and a hybrid prototype is under development.

Reviews of the 2005 Scorpio suggest that its levels of performance and refinement were significantly below U.S.-market standards, but perhaps the 2006 version has addressed those concerns. In any event, you can expect the chunky SUV to carry a bargain-basement price.

[Sources: AutoWeek, Mahindra & Mahindra]

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