Mahindra & Mahindra's proposed takeover of Ssangyong Motor could be inked within weeks following news yesterday the Indian automaker was now the preferred bidder.

Local media reports cited Mahindra & Mahindra's head of automotive Pawan Goenka as noting any agreement could cover the Indian company's long-term debt.

"We seem to have the highest value and that is why we have been selected," he said, adding: "We will get a debt-free company - we do not expect any obstacles."

A memorandum of understanding could be signed in two weeks and due diligence would be finished by October, Pawan said. A definitive agreement could happen in November.

Company vice-chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra was quoted as saying the the deal - apparently the largest investment by an Indian company in South Korea - would "create a platform for global expansion" and form an "Asia-focused SUV player".

No investment details were available but it is thought Mahindra & Mahindra could secure a majority stake in Ssangyong of over 51%.

Neither M&M nor Ssangyong immediately returned calls seeking comment.

Mahindra emerged as the leading bidder after the Renault Nissan alliance dropped out, apparently because of the high costs involved.

Other suitors included Indian tyre maker Ruia Group and Young An Hat, a Korean headgear company that also owns Daewoo Bus.