market with tractors, it has not with cars, recently scrapping a six-year push to sell a pickup truck there. Of Mahindra's own-branded passenger vehicles, just 7 percent are sold abroad.
"With Aston Martin, entering the U.S. market, the customer is likely to look at you much more seriously as compared to if you are just an Indian carmaker who also owns Ssangyong," said Deepesh Rathore, managing director for India at IHS Automotive.
Investment Dar wants to sell Aston for at least what it paid plus commitment of subsequent equity injection, or $1.1 billion for the whole company, Bernstein Research wrote in a Nov. 14 report, citing industry sources and calling that price high.
With his neat moustache, perfectly-coiffed hair and elegant suits, the company's film-buff chairman with a Harvard MBA looks like he could play a CEO in a movie.
Unlike the chieftains of some of India's more insular family conglomerates, the outgoing Anand Mahindra is active on Twitter and is a regular at the World Economic Forum in Davos, a meeting place of business czars and government leaders.
As a dealmaker, he eschews drama, avoiding costly bidding wars and mostly sticking to deals that cost less than $1 billion and don't require heavy debt.
In 2008, he walked away from bidding for luxury carmaker Jaguar Land Rover. Indian rival Tata Motors ended up paying $2.3 billion in a deal that looked expensive at the time but has proven to be a blockbuster success.
"Anand doesn't go by emotion or ego in these matters," said an M&A banker with a foreign bank in Mumbai.
Even as the company vies for Aston Martin, it is eyeing a couple of smaller European auto component makers that are on the block due to mounting losses, said another source.
"They don't go after deals proactively and end up overpaying, and would rather wait for the stressed assets to come to the market," the banker said.
"The are focused on building a little empire of prized assets instead of shock-and-awe kind of deals."
In 2009, its Tech Mahindra software arm bought Satyam Computer Services, which was brought to its knees by its founder's dramatic confession