Sonalika’s passenger car brand International Cars & Motors Ltd. (ICML) kick started a very ambitious world car project back in 2008. The Indian firm whose primary business is to manufacture tractors roped in the famed Italian design firm Pininfarina to pen its family of global cars which were supposed to be ready for the market by 2012.
It seems, the project started off well, and Pininfarina even delivered its first design concept, a sporty crossover coupe called ICML Evo. Unfortunately, the concept was never made public and the world car vision slipped into oblivion.
In 2012, Sonalika sold 12.5% of its tractor division to Blackstone Group, a US-based private equity firm. It appears that the new stakeholder wanted Sonalika to rather concentrate on its tractor business than pursuing its passenger car goals.
Thanks to Motown India, we now have the very first pictures of ICML Evo which is spending its life adorning Sonalika’s HQ in Hoshiapur, Punjab. Even after half-a-decade, the Pininfarina-designed crossover coupe has a contemporary and a truly global appeal. What a shame that this car didn’t become a reality!
While the profile derives inspiration from BMW X6 which debuted in 2008 (roughly the same time as ICML’s announcement of global car project), finer details are authentic and decidedly premium. The design concept looks production ready, indicating how awfully close ICML was to realize its dream!
With just an obsolete and dull Rhino MPV (which was later rebranded as Extreme) in its passenger car portfolio, concentrating massive resources on a global family of products would have been a huge risk for Sonalika. However, the firm had a brilliantly designed crossover in hand at exactly the right time (the crossover boom is now a truly global automotive phenomenon). We can’t help but think that it would have been worth the risk!