Motown India magazine is the first media outlet to have finally spotted the abominable snowman Yeti aka the Sonalika International Cars and Motors Ltd (ICML) - Pininfarina premium world car that
goes by the name of “EVO”. By the looks of it, the car is very SUV like and has
got a very contemporary styling. The car must have been made more than five
years back. Unfortunately, the car never saw the light of day and ICML is today
almost relegated to the pages of history.
With the ICML logo in front and back of the vehicle, the car
was spotted at Sonalika headquarters at Hoshiarpur in the state of Punjab in
north India. The car is proudly parked
along with Sonalika’s current range of tractors in an air conditioned hall. This
Pininfarina car was supposed to have been launched in 2012 for a little above
Rs 10 lakh.
The five-seater vehicle has the word “Pininfarina” inscribed
at the bottom of the left front door. With a five spoke alloy wheel, the car
that must have been conceived almost seven or eight years back, is truly
contemporary in every manner with a sloping roof and projector headlamps and
fog lamps along with elegant swept back tail lamps.
But going by the design and looks of the “EVO” car from ICML
and Pininfarina, it is obvious that the two companies had indeed made a car
that was global in every which way. Had the company’s car project taken off,
the “Evo” could definitely have been a huge hit among the car buyers of that era.
In the last one decade or so, journalists all over the
country and elsewhere have written a lot about ICML, a company under the
Sonalika group. Those following the
company closely know about the fact that it had brought out the Rhino multi
utility vehicle from its plant in Amb, Himachal Pradesh in north India. Around
2008, it was confirmed that the company had got into a tie up with Italian
design house Pininfarina to make a world car that was targeted for sales to
countries as developed as the United States. (Pininfarina is now owned by India’s
Mahindra & Mahindra).
The late Andreas Pininfarina too had visited Sonalika’s
Hoshiarpur plant in Punjab around 2007-08 to speak to the media about this
development and this writer too had a chance to interact with him during that
time. Unfortunately, Andreas Pininfarina
died in 2008 in a freak accident while riding a Vespa near the company’s
headquarters in Italy. The ICML world
car was nevertheless developed and like the abominable snowman Yeti, the car
was never shown to the public though it was rumoured to have been developed and
kept under wraps. In October 2012 Sonalika sold a 12.5% stake in ITL for $100
million (around Rs 520 crore) to US-based private equity player Blackstone Group.
It is apparently learnt that Blackstone really did not want Sonalika to pursue
its passenger car dream and wanted it to concentrate on its tractor business.
ICML’s Rhino vehicle flopped in the Indian market and the
company continued making a handful of Rhino vehicle under the brand name “Extreme”.
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REPORT: TRACTORS ON TOP, RHINO TAKES BEATING FOR SONALIKA, MOTOWN INDIA REPORT