Will our newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to be driven in the ‘swadeshi’ Mahindra Scorpio or the ‘videshi’ BMW 7-Series is question that has grappled the automotive enthusiasts in the country. So far, the made-in-India Mahindra Scorpio had been Modi’s choice of wheels during the year-long rallying across the country and also, during his victory lap. Now however, as the nation looks forward to the Modi’s swearing in ceremony that is slated to get underway on May 26th, it remains to be seen if the new PM will follow in the footsteps of out-going PM Manmohan Singh who was designated with the BMW 7-Series as his official car.
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).
Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group has expressed his desire by saying, “It will be a matter of pride for us and for the whole nation if our new PM continues to make the India-made Scorpio his vehicle of choice.” Thrilled at the possibility, Mahindra said that the company is looking to make the required security upgrades to Scorpio to meet the Prime Minister’s security cover.
“We would like to see him continue on a Scorpio. We need to have a dialogue with the SPG to understand the security apparatus and requirements.” says Dr Pawan Goenka, president of Mahindra & Mahindra automotive division.
Narendra 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. “We are capable of upgrading the vehicle to whatever standards that may be sought, including having a more powerful engine on board as well as other security needs.” Goenka said. This is a brave statement, considering the fact that the Scorpio does not meet any crash regulations!