Indian auto maker Force Motors has announced the launch of two new variants of One Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) in the domestic auto market. In addition, the Pune-based firm has plans of introducing a third version of the SUV in a couple of months. Company officials believe that the launch of these new variants will help the auto maker to have offerings in different price segments. Notably, it has been only 19 months since Force Motors entered the passenger car segment of the Indian auto market. Post its entry, the Indian auto maker has managed to sell around 2600 units of the Force One SUV. However, according to Prasan Firodia, the Managing Director of Force Motors, the company had set itself a target of selling 4000 units. Industry experts feel that although the firm is not popular at present, it might gain prominence in the years to come.
The company is quite upbeat about its future prospects and is looking forward to make an impact in the Indian car market. Firodia said that the introduction of SUV variants along with three versions of the Gurkha off-roader will help Force Motors to make its presence felt in India by strengthening its product portfolio. The new variants of Gurkha are slated to be available for sale by the end of August 2013.
Industry experts are of a view that several reasons can be cited for the low-key performance of the Pune-based Force Motors till now. The economic crisis has led to a constant fall in the value of rupee, which has resulted in widespread price rise across the country. This has increased the cost pressure on auto makers, who have been forced to hike prices of vehicles to maintain their profit margins. Also, the Indian auto industry has been witnessing a consistent decline in demand for the past few months. Apart from the unfavourable market scenario, the fact that Force Motors does not have a strong network of dealerships across the country has also played its part.
By the end of this fiscal, the company has plans of doubling its current count of 25 dealerships, which will be spread across tier-II and tier-III cities. Starting from 2012, Force Motors has a planned capital expenditure of Rs. 1000 crore, which will span over a period of three years. The engines fitted in the Force One SUV sourced from Mercedes-Benz and are made at Pithampur, a facility that is licensed by the German luxury car maker. Force One SUV comes at a price tag of Rs. 11.99 lakh (ex showroom Pune) and is powered by a 2.2-litre engine. The powertrain fitted in the Force One SUV features turbocharge, common rail technology and churns out a maximum power of around 139 bhp.
Other features of the Force One SUV SX include Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), steering mounted audio controls, leather seats, reverse parking sensors and progressive cruise controls. In addition, the on-board electronics have been audited and validated by Mercedes-Benz Technologies. With the introduction of two new variants, Force Motors plans to target those consumers who are looking for value-for-money cars. The Indian firm has identified tier-II and tier-III towns as specific regions to promote the Force One EX, which is currently priced at Rs. 8.99 lakh.