By on December 15, 2011

 

 

This is one of my favorite music knock offs, the Hindi version of Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. My point? If the folks at Mahindra Planet are right, it’s only a matter of time before the Bollywood Music types rip off Skynyrd’s classic, “Sweet Home Alabama.” Which will be pretty awesome, I assure you!

 

The big box of a building in Muscle Shoals is rumored to be the future home of the Mahindra TR20 and TR40 compact pickups. The truck gurus at Navistar supposedly signed a 10 year lease on the facility this October: could the company that fought Ford tooth and nail take Ford’s compact truck market share once the Ranger officially dies next week?

 

 

But let’s not get too excited about our prospects for a pure compact pickup, a stickshift, gutsy Miata with a bed if you will. Nothing’s ever perfect.

 

 

If the EPA figures are right, the TR40 is a bit of a buffet slurping Yankee. Considering the price volatility of diesel and the fuel economy of gas trucks, that’s a big problem. And who knows if these rigs have enough engineering prowess to overcome the road/dirt driving dynamics of a Tacoma. It’s same (potential) Achilles’s heel that put the Model T out of production and Chevrolet on the map.  Then again, this interior shot suggests the TR isn’t a bad place to do business.

 

 

Rear HVAC vents?  Not too shabby! Who knows what the future will provide?

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

 

 

 

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27 Comments on “The Final Countdown for an Alabama-Mahindra Truck?...”


  • avatar
    nickeled&dimed

    I’ve been up and down on Mahindra’s TR20 and TR40 for what seems like 3 years now… I think a little truck with a diesel engine (isn’t that EXACTLY what everybody’s been asking for) is an EXCELLENT idea, but I’d be disappointed if the execution is bad. At one point Mahindra was predicting mid-30 mpgs for it’s 2wd single cab 6spd diesel, but if it’s less, then count me out. The EPA estimate for the TR40 with 4wd is 19/21, but it’d have to out perform (or under-price) an F-150 EcoBoost to be viable. That said, I like the size better than an F-150. Sajeev – no comparisons to your Ranger? Maybe a better comparison would be to an early Tacoma (the un-named 4x4s and SR5 trucks – a 1981 SR5 diesel had EPA 31mpg!)

    Also, what’s the connection with Navistar? Are they going to build the vehicle? I mostly know Navistar for their diesels and truck brands, and I thought that Mahindra developed their diesel with Bosch to achieve the current rounds of emissions standards in US and Europe.

    Also, isn’t the legal fight in London still dragging on with no end in sight? A 10-year lease on an empty facility might not mean anything – apparently the $60 million that 350+ potential dealers shelled out to get ready for the GV/Mahindra enterprise was all for naught as well. I’m not holding my breath.

    I’d like to see Mahindra come to the US and produce trucklets. I’d be interested if the diesel gets decent mileage and towing, but I’d also wait a few years to see how the first adopters do.

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      I wonder if this is a way for Navistar to get back into the consumer truck market? Would an International Harvester or Navistar pickup sell better than a Mahindra?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      5&10, I believe that the domestic auto manufacturers are fighting that idea tooth and nail by lobbying Congress to throw up as many roadblocks to Mahindra, and others, as possible.

      Mahindra has zero chance to get ever approval from the DOT to sell their India-made trucklets in the US. Too bad. We have a market for them, chicken-tax notwithstanding.

      It is interesting that many of my (older) friends chose a compact truck or mid-sized truck for their utility vehicle. Over the years that has included S10s, Rangers, Dakotas, Datsun/Nissans, Toyotas. Now it is predominately the Tacoma in its various incarnations, 2dr, 4dr, ExtCab, 4X4, etc.

      Several open-range ranchers in this area who drive full-sized trucks have bought the Honda Ridgeline for their wives and daughters and it is not unusual to see the bed of a Ridgeline loaded to the gills with hay and feed, or even towing a one-horse trailer.

      The problem with all these little trucks is that they get lousy gas mileage when you load them down. I mean truly lousy! That’s where a Mahindra with a tiny diesel engine would perform mpg miracles.

      But we’ll never see one in the US because the domestic auto manufacturers and Congress do not want to see more competition for our transportation dollars in the US market place.

      I’m all for choice! But we can only buy what the domestic car makers and Congress allow us to choose from. Mahindra is not one of them.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Navistar and Mahindra & Mahindra have a long term business relationship including joint ventures. The current M&M logo was “Navistarized” many years ago.

      Navistar has already re-entered the conventional class 4/5 market and did do some styling exercises for a full size truck a number of years ago, the only problem was that they couldn’t sell them with their own engines due to their then relationship with Ford.

  • avatar

    I think Toyota/Ford are too scared of the uncertainties and lack of a perceived success guarantor to consider something as new as a new small truck would be, even if it seems to you and I that a new Taco/Ranger would undoubtedly be a good idea, like how the Cadillac Sixteen remains a one-off and will forever.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      That’s their problem, not mine. my problem is finding the right tool for the right job. And the range of available tools just got narrower.

      I will miss my Ranger. It’s the right size and right capability tool for so many things, but it’s a lousy family car. So I’m going to sell it, probably the same week that the last new Ranger rolls off the assembly line… But the instant I need a pickup truck, I’ll be snapping up a used 4×4 Ranger, and putting a flatbed (http://www.uteltd.com/) and a trailer hitch on it. I’ve spent a couple of weeks driving an F-150 around town while I was getting it outfitted for a family member, and it’s a wonderful truck and a pinnacle of modern American automotive engineering — but I don’t see any reason why I’d want one as a personal vehicle as long as compact trucks exist in the used market.

      (I think railroad locomotives are excellent machines, too, but I don’t want on in my driveway. So it is with the F-150. Just too damn big.)

  • avatar
    Andy D

    With the imminent demise of the Ranger and Ford not having anything to replace it in NA, Mahindra is poised to move into a vacuum. I am on 2 Ranger Forums and I was amazed that most Ranger guys, consider them inferior to a Tacoma. What Tacos dont provide is a big depreciation hit. You can buy a newer Ranger in better shape than a used Taco for the same money. The Ranger is/was a very capable truck considering its old engineering. Ford abandoned 2 platforms that had a good niche following. They dropped the ball, by not continuing to develop the platforms for the 21st century.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s a dying market but if Mahindra had a 1/2 ton selling like crazy for upto $50K with just a touch more raw materials, what do you suppose they’d do? If America was any kind vacuum for compact trucks, with or without the Ranger, Mahindra would be here by now, along with all the other global compact trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        As a consumer in a consumerist country, I’d expect them to sell me what I want. And, if they didn’t want to, I’d bitch on the Internet and hope that they’d hear me eventually. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      Bill Wade

      They did and sell it everyplace but here. I have one of the new Ranger diesel crew cabs and am quite impressed. Ford should import them but I guess they’re afraid it will hit the almighty F150 sales.

  • avatar
    jeanpierresarti

    I am not sure if the great need of a small diesel engined pick-up actually exist. I understand that diesel toyota hiluxes can be had right over the border in canada. why don’t we see them in the northern states. even if new they are expensive where are the vaunted can’t kill a toyota pick-ups in the used market?

    anyway with the price of diesel i am seriously doubting the avg consumer actually gets a benefit from diesel.

    • 0 avatar
      ExPatBrit

      Pretty sure they are subject to the 25 year old import restriction. A 25 year old diesel Hilux is likely a rust bucket unless it’s from Western Canada.

      If the 25year rule didn’t exist, I would consider one of those Ford Courier FWD pickups from south America.

      http://jalopnik.com/5517645/sorry-gringo-no-baby-pickups-for-you-ford-courier

    • 0 avatar
      Alacrity

      All TMNA currently imports is petrol. Even the Hilux in Mexico, Cant recall the last year there was any diesel – may have been concurrent with the US offering. You can get a 120d M sport south of the border.

      If the examples of Mahindra’s handiwork I saw in South Africa is any indication – Navistar has their hands …fool.

      If there was an a serious demand for diesels – especially a modern common rail like Toyota’s 1KDFTV – DieselToyz swap biz would be replicated. They’ll set you up with a D-4D Taco for less than $30k

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    Why do we need Mahindra guess work? Right now I see a dealership that has no product to sell. It is called Mitsubishi. They sell some Outlander Sport Because they are cheap. Outlander, Lancer and a few EVO’s won’t cut it. A product sold all around the world including nearby Mexico should. The L200/Triton/Hunter.
    Now that the Ford Ranger is dead there is a market for no less then 50,000 units that just went to Toyota. Per Wiki Ford sold in 1999 348,000 Rangers. Down to 55,000 in 2010. Those figures do not include a missing crew cab version that moves some Taco and Frontier product.
    If I were in Mitsubishi USA’s shoes I would go down that road. The deal with Dodge truck was stupid. Bring in the “compact” real world work truck. Before China does. Mitsu has nothing else. I saw the Colt. Nothing great. Most of these pickup truck sales were won with fleet sales reps. Time to hire.
    Because GM is going there. There is a market. (Even for a new Montero Sport…see Mexico website)

    P.S. I forgot that the i-MiEV is Mitsu is the plan of keeping doors open. Good luck with that.

    http://www.mitsubishi-motors.com.au/vehicles/4wd/triton/specs-and-features/range/4×2
    http://www.mitsubishi-cars.co.uk/l200/
    http://www.mitsubishimotors.com.mx/modelos/2011/l200/index.jsp

  • avatar
    becurb

    DenverMike
    December 15th, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    If America was any kind vacuum for compact trucks, with or without the Ranger, Mahindra would be here by now, along with all the other global compact trucks.

    I think you are wrong there, DenverMike. I’ll point out that the US market was the last market to get 4-door trucks, despite their being available in Mexico, and probably Canada. Can you still get a standard or extended cab pickup? Seems most of them are of the 4-door variety.

    I own a 2000 Taco, and I’ll not be replacing it with a full size pickup. If I wanted a full size truck, I wouldn’t have bought the Taco. And, I’m not liking the T-100 sized Taco that Toyota is peddling today, either.

    So, if Mahindra ever does bring a compact p/u to the US market, I’ll give it a fair consideration. My problem is that the one pictured above looks like a baby Hummer wanna be, and I’m not interested in that.

    Another thing – the center stack on this thing looks like it will catch my right knee just below the knee-cap, like the 2007/8 model Ranger I rented did. That, needless to say, is an immediate deal killer.

    Bruce

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      For some people, full-size it just too big and would never consider one and that’s fine. All I’m saying is it’s niche truck market shrinking every year. 4% last I heard but if the Tundra was a runaway hit like the F-150, the Taco’s days would also be ‘numbered’. Just simple economics.

  • avatar
    Herm

    I think GM should bring out a trucklet based on the Sonic, with 2 doors only.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I keep reading that there isn’t enough demand for little trucks, but I also keep seeing older Tacomas and Rangers that are still being used daily. There must be some people that think that small pickups are well suited to their needs. I see them parked outside of homes that suggest their drivers could afford to buy new vehicles if the ones they wanted were available too.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    Dear Mitsubishi of NA. Plese bring your pick up truck here. A real L200 / Triton / Hunter is missed in the American market. It will get aproxx 50,000 sales a year. Your dealerships are empty. You can at least try and look intrested. You are like the Bum brother from the other post. Sh** or get off the can. We don’t need Mahindra’s Picaboo games. We could use a decent truck sold for a great price. You can even build them here. Just look at the Galant and Eclipce. Picaboo!

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      This. It doesn’t even have to be any good, which is right up Mitsubishi’s alley.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        I tried to post this earlier. It would not take. Here it goes again…

        Why do we need Mahindra guess work? Right now I see a dealership that has no product to sell. It is called Mitsubishi. They sell some Outlander Sport Because they are cheap. Outlander, Lancer and a few EVO’s won’t cut it. A product sold all around the world including nearby Mexico should. The L200/Triton/Hunter.
        Now that the Ford Ranger is dead there is a market for no less then 50,000 units that just went to Toyota. Per Wiki Ford sold in 1999 348,000 Rangers. Down to 55,000 in 2010. Those figures do not include a missing crew cab version that moves some Taco and Frontier product.
        If I were in Mitsubishi USA’s shoes I would go down that road. The deal with Dodge truck was just insulting. Bring in the “compact” real world work truck. Before China does. Mitsu has nothing else. I saw the Colt. Nothing great. Most of these pickup truck sales were won with fleet sales reps. Time to hire.
        Because GM is going there. There is a market. (Even for a new Montero Sport…see Mexico website)

        P.S. I forgot that the i-MiEV is Mitsu is the plan of keeping doors open. Good luck with that.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    Navistar should produce a diesel 4WD pickup and call it the Scout. And a “Scout” version also. I bet it would sell.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    The ideal truck for me would be an updated 50s 1/2 ton Chevy or Ford. I6, manual transmission, generally bare bones. Manual windows, Plain cab. Mebbe (definitely) Fly windows instead of AC

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      And there’d be a sale of exactly ONE…to you. unfortunately, as the death of the Ranger has proven, there isn’t much of a business case here in America for small, basic pick ups. If it isn’t at least as big as an SilverRam150…it just won’t sell here. And that’s a shame…

      • 0 avatar
        400 N

        Rubbish, they’re selling 15,000 per year in Canada, and in the US they’re probably doing pretty good considering the age of the design.

        http://m.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/driving-it-home/for-ford-canada-is-the-51st-state/article2268195/?service=mobile

      • 0 avatar

        The Ranger died because of Ford, not anything else. Even though the compact truck market shrunk, their piece of the pie was large.


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