By on August 25, 2008

Maybe they could improve the looks a little too?Automotive News (sub) reports that Indian tractor firm Mahindra and Mahindra has delayed the US launch of its Appalachian pickup, built in Chennai, India. M&M's American distributor Global Vehicles was ready to start chasing its goal of 50k annual sales of the diesel four-banger light truck, when its CEO got a call from Mr Anand Mahindra himself. The message was simple: "My family's name is going onto this vehicle, and it's not going to fail." Mahindra is using the delay to log some 3.2m American miles on 25 trucks in hopes of fine-tuning it for the US market, with a particular eye on reliability. 324 dealers across the company have signed up to sell the Appalachian, but most have not yet built stores, so the delay could only help there as well. Oh, and there's one more thing… the diesel hasn't passed the EPA's new 50-state diesel standards. Global Vehicles and M&M swear on a stack of bibles that it will pass with flying colors, but with the price of diesel staying high, efficiency ratings will be crucial to the Appalachian's success. And since they've got the extra time, maybe they'll find some clever way to explain why an Indian truck has been named after a region of America. Maybe.

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32 Comments on “Mahindra’s US Launch Delayed For More Testing...”


  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Are Hummer dealers lining up for a franchise?

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    Shouldn’t they be swearing on a stack of Korans?

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    to Korvetkeith: India is only about 10-15% Muslim. They should be swearing on a stack of Bhagavad Gitas :)

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    This looks a lot like my dad’s old Datsun pick from 1977 (and he still speaks fondly of it).

    If priced right, this could be winner…..

  • avatar
    Areitu

    Paul Niedermeyer : Maybe they’re waiting to buy the dealerships at firesale prices. “Has potential. Comes with simulated offroad terrain track”

  • avatar

    If the truck gets 30 mpg, good crash test ratings, and costs around $20K for a crew cab, I might consider one. Doesn’t help the look much though.

  • avatar
    dmosbach

    The Luigiian:

    If the truck gets 30 mpg, good crash test ratings, and costs around $20K for a crew cab, I might consider one. Doesn’t help the look much though

    I agree with everything you’ve said… and will add that the Domestics and ToyNisDa have allowed their compact trucks to either 1). wither on-the-vine or 2). made them bloated and overpriced.

    I for one am looking forward to test driving the Appalachia… esp with an efficent 4-cyl diesel. And if I like I will buy on the spot.

  • avatar
    Areitu

    I googled around a bit…the target price looks like it’s going to come out to around 22k for the diesel. I hope it looks more reflective of the price than the one in that picture, because the one in that picture, which looks like a base model tacoma.

    I would have thought they would enter the US market with a cheap sturdy gasoline pickup, though.

  • avatar
    B.C.

    The message was simple: “My family’s name is going onto this vehicle, and it’s not going to fail.”

    I approve of that stance; that’s much stronger than anything I’ve heard from the Chinese automakers and their “we’d-make-cars-from-papier-mache-if-they’d-let-us” approach.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Just spent two weeks in China. Hardly saw any Chinese-made car, and hardly saw a Buick either. VW, Nissan, Toyota, Fiat, and Honda seem to rule the market down there. Chinese automakers? There are some China myths here on TTAC…

    That Indian diesel pickup seems to hit the spot. If it’s reliable and get a decent MPG, it will find itself in an more or less empty market niche and will sell well.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    That truck looks goofy, but in a cool kinda way. I wonder how long it’ll take for Gale Banks to lay his magic fingers on that diesel.

  • avatar
    monkeyboy

    Very good points here. The bloated Asian importers and the died on the vine Domestics.

    This is a very no profit segment. But the domestics consider it a stepping stone to larger trucks.

    The India assembly will ensure that at least it’s cheap to manufacture. But as with all imports, the U.S. market is a tough nut.

    Isuzu offered a great small diesel pick up. Didn’t sell.

  • avatar
    davey49

    Maybe they should sell it at the Mahindra tractor dealers.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Davey: I think they will. At least that’s where the servicing will come from.

    This looks really promising. I’d certainly give it a test drive.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    Dimwit,

    I agree, worthy of a test drive for sure.

  • avatar
    Scorched Earth

    It doesn’t look good at all, but with diesel and low prices they’ll probably steal tons of sales from the aging Rangers/B-series, Colorado/Canyon, and fatass Dakota. Assuming their diesel makes the grade.

  • avatar

    Mahindra-saab,

    If you are reading this, please consider me for your testing programme. That is, hand me the keys to one of your fine pickups so I can see firsthand how well my motherland’s truck can handle life in America.

    Sincerely,
    Mehta-bhai

  • avatar
    clive

    Actually, “Appalachian” is very applicable, since the name was originally (stolen) translated from Native Americans (the Apalachee tribe). So an American Indian name is being used by an East Indian company, sold to Americans, who are all from immigrant background anyway. Just like us Canadians, only we haven’t been here as long.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    This could be a very attractive truck, depending on the details, especially the powertrain, when they finally hit.

    It would have been nice if they had forgotten the 50-state legality issue and just not bothered with the draconian requirements for diesels in CA-emissions states. Still, maybe if it is possible to chip this thing to up the HP and torque considerably without having to disable/remove/alter sensors those of us living in emissions-law free states could have not only an inexpensive and durable work horse of a truck, but one that can double as a fuel-efficient hot-rod as well.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    What idiot would build a store to sell these things. Empty dealerships are everywhere.

    Their timing on diesel isn’t all that good either. Normally, I would say it’s a great idea, but they had better have a competitive cost per mile or forget about it.

  • avatar

    They could probably sell the whole lot on ebay or Craigslist. I hope they are rust proofed.

  • avatar
    thoots

    Yep, they need to work on the goofy looks, too.

    No doubt, though — I think the market is INCREDIBLY ripe for small pickups like the 1970′s Toyotas and Datsuns. Something like that with great mileage and around 10 to 12 grand? How could something like that be too difficult to pull off, and gosh wouldn’t it sell like hotcakes?

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    Before launching Mahindra should carefully study how VW launched the Beetle in the U.S. Follow that playbook to the letter and Mahindra will do well. Try and play follow the leader like the Koreans have and Mahindra will shrivel on the vine once the major automakers re-enter the subcompact truck market.

    The time is ripe for a modern day “people’s car.” Focus like a lasar beam on practicality, reliability and versatility. Forget annual model changes and unnecessary technology. Adopt a strikingly honest marketing campaign. Saturn-style pricing wouldn’t hurt.

    The key is to stick with this basic philosophy for the long haul rather than lapsing into me-tooism after a few years.

  • avatar
    Raskolnikov

    Darn you Mahindra!!! I was DYING to get my hands on this work of automotive art ASAP.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Dr. Lemming, I agree with you most of the time… but not here.

    Mahindra’s strength lay in farm country and the folks who are already familiar with their products. The Mahindra name is actually well known in rural America primarily due to the quality of their tractors. If the folks who actually use a truck for it’s intended purpose embrace this pickup, the suburban and city dwellers will consider it a viable product.

    Otherwise it’s just another questionable name with an unproven product. Those don’t sell well in recessions regardless of how good the automaker is in the quality game. Just ask Daihatsu.

  • avatar
    BuckD

    I’ve been waiting for a small, fuel efficient truck since someone smashed into the back end of my Datsun 4×4 in ’88. Toyota and Nissan trucks are too bloated and Chevy isn’t giving me any LUV, so it falls to India to fulfill my truck desires.

    I think the goofy looks will work to its advantage. It’s not atrocious looking, just peculiar, and it has an air of serious utility about it. That will help to set it apart from other small trucks.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @Robbie
    Just spent two weeks in China. Hardly saw any Chinese-made car, and hardly saw a Buick either. VW, Nissan, Toyota, Fiat, and Honda seem to rule the market down there

    So you believe those were imported VW, Nissan, Toyota, Fiat, and Honda cars? I bet they were made in China. The import tariff (25%) makes importing cars very uninteresting.

  • avatar

    Realistically, the only hope this truck has of succeeding is on cost (purchase as well as operating costs), at least initially. We’re not going to have any idea of its reliability at first, so everyone above who said, “as long as it’s reliable” might as well look elsewhere for a few years. The thing sure won’t sell on looks – how is there appeal in looking like a 30 year old Datsun pickup, sans the rust?

    I don’t want to sound too negative – I am glad there will finally be a true small pickup in the US – but Mahindra faces some formidable obstacles with the launch of this truck.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    I might consider this in the future but not at $22K like someone suggested they might be pricing it. At that price they just wont be able to compete with the bargin basement prices on fullsize trucks right now, and for the forseeable future. Plus the glut of used trucks on the market will make this a dud at that price. It needs to be a $15-16K truck, especially coming from India with no track record.

    I hope they figure that out before they bring it here because I would really be interested in buying this truck if I haven’t gotten a cheap F-150 by then, you know for well under $20K.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Hitting the 2010 EPA diesel emission levels at a low price point should be interesting….if they actually do it.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    Is anybody else getting a laugh out of a possible “M&M” badge?

    HAH!

    Come on, you would simply HAVE TO just paint it on the hood and doors in white paint or pinstripe tape!

  • avatar
    Khutuck

    A bit off-topic, today Mahindra launched their agricultural tractors in Turkey, I was there as a reporter, and I used one to plow a field :)


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