Mahindra plans US assembly for `Scorpio' to skirt import curbs

Utility vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra is looking at acquiring a US facility for its Scorpio pick-ups, in order to save itself from penalties under President Obama's `Buy American' rule.

Mahindra & Mahindra, India's top sports-utility vehicle maker by sales, plans to export its `Scorpio' pick-ups to the US beginning January 2010. The company is also planning to introduce the Scorpio SUV in the US by December 2010, P N Shah, executive vice president for Mahindra's international automotive operations, said.

Mahindra plans to import knocked-down versions of the Scorpio pick-ups from India for assembly at the US facility. Initial volumes may not be big, but the company proposes to have its own assembly in the US.

"We don't need big volumes to assemble the pick-up there and we may do it," P N Shah, executive vice president for Mahindra's international automotive operations, said.

Shah said while acquisition of a facility would be the most economically feasible option, the company is exploring other options as well.

He said the demand outlook for the company's vehicles in the US market seems to be good right now because of the price advantage.