Last week we carried out a feature, which pondered over the question - what would the newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official car be: the BMW 7-Series or the Mahindra Scorpio SUV? At the swearing-in ceremony that got underway on the 26th of May, Narendra Modi arrived at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in the made-in-India armoured Scorpio SUV. Now however, according to latest reports, it is understood that Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group has written a letter to our new PM, urging him to make the decade-old Scorpio SUV his official car.
Pawan Goenka, executive director said, “Mahindra did write to the prime minister, requesting he continue to use the Scorpio as his official car. It is a matter of pride and honour for us that the Prime Minister uses a vehicle designed, developed and built in India. We will be happy to further up-armour the Scorpio if required, to meet all the security requirements befitting our prime minister.”
So far, the desi Mahindra Scorpio SUV had been Modi’s choice of wheels during the year-long election campaign, beating the dusty and uneven roads of the hinterlands across the country. Modi’s current fleet of vehicles includes, a number of bullet-proof Scorpio vehicles, each carrying elaborate security apparatus in line with the threat perception and his high-profile status.
For a long time, the iconic Hindustan Motors’ Ambassador sedan had been the official car for Prime Ministers. The switch-over to the German brand, BMW happened around 2003, during the tenure of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Increased threat perception from terrorist organisations and availability of highly-specialised armoured vehicles prompted the establishment to opt for the German brand, with each of the vehicle costing several crores of rupees. The current fleet of the Prime Minister is understood to have more than half-a-dozen BMW 760Li high-security limousines (some are used as decoy vehicles), while having around a dozen BMW X5 SUVs that are used by the SPG (Special Protection Group).
The final say in the matter will be taken by the Special Protection Group (SPG) attached to the PM, who usually takes all calls pertaining to vehicle security.