American consumers may have been robbed of a chance to buy the Mahindra pickup, but how about one from Great Wall?
The world’s ugliest car, the Ssangyong Rodius, has gotten a new mug for 2013. Possibly the least anticipated debut at next week’s Geneva Auto Show, the pedestrian-friendly front end takes away some of the visual harshness of the former Middle Eastern minicab of choice, but the trademark inverted-triangle rear window remains. There’s plenty of forbidden fruit available elsewhere that we are not privy to. Some are worth coveting. This product isn’t one of them.
Mumbai tractor moguls Mahindra & Mahindra hope to emerge as owners of Aston Martin by the end of the week, but Italy’s InvestIndustrial shares the same aspirations, reports Reuters from the sidelines of the bidding war for the British sports car maker. While the world waits for the hammer to come down, scientists make a perplexing discovery. (Read More…)
Aston Martin’s Kuwaiti owners are apparently looking to unload their majority stake in the English sports car maker, but proceedings have been slow to due Investment Dar Co.’s desire to recoup their $800 million purchase price.
Mahindra has launched the Quanto compact SUV in the Indian market. Based on the larger Xylo, Mahindra chopped the rear off to get it under 4-meters in length. The company has given the car a new 1.5-litre diesel engine as well. In India, vehicles which are less than 4-meters in length and have an engine capacity less than 1.5-litres (diesel) or 1.2-litres (gasoline), benefit from a lower excise duty of 12% against 27%.
Yesterday, the alleged enthusiast blog did play its usual “if we would tell you, they would shoot us” about a possible suitor from India:
“We are not allowed to reveal the identity of the company yet, but we are allowed to reveal some facts about it. They are of course based in India but acts on a world-wide basis with much more than 100’000 employees worldwide. They are a multi-billion dollar company, that work on multiple fields such as energy, logistics, real estate and of course within the aerospace and automotive industry.” (Read More…)
Another day, another disappointment for American fans of the Indian automaker Mahindra’s rugged, diesel-powered trucks. Earlier rumors that Mahindra might build its trucks with Navistar in Alabama turn out to be false, as a press release published at MahindraPlanet notes
MUMBAI, India, December 17, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — “There have been reports in certain quarters of media and online space stating that Navistar USA will produce Mahindra’s T20 and T40 pick ups in Alabama, USA in 2012, which are completely baseless & incorrect. If & when there are any material developments, Mahindra & Mahindra Limited will communicate them directly and transparently.”
If you haven’t given up on the Mahindra dream, now might be a good time to consider it…
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!
With the second collapse of a Mahindra US-market initiative this year, some might believe that the Indian automaker has abandoned all efforts to make a good name for itself in the USA. And certainly, the implosion of its Pickup truck distribution deal with Global Vehicles looks difficult to salvage, given that both sides are locked in a legal dispute. Needless to say, when GV dropped us an email hyping a Spring 2011 launch for US-Market Mahindra products, we were more than a little skeptical. Now, however, the delay might have a legitimate explanation. According to Mahindra’s Arun Malhotra, senior vice-president for sales and customer care, speaking at the launch of the Mahindra Thar (see video above)
We are working on a lot of models. There will be a pick up on a completely new platform. We plan to bring it in the second [quarter] of 2011. It will be positioned near the top-end of our commercial vehicle pickup range, with a payload capability of above 1 tonne.
This seems to indicate that Mahindra is replacing its 1.2-ton Scorpio-based trucks (known in Australia as the “Pik Up”) with an all-new model before launching in the US. In other words, this is the first actual, legitimate reason for the endless delays to Mahindra’s US launch. Still, as the video of the Thar launch proves, Mahindra could probably make use of this (hopefully) final delay to work on their launch skills.
The road to the US market has been a rough one for Mahindra, with lawsuits, delays of EPA certification and more holding up a launch that should have taken place over a year ago. And after the Indian automaker rejected an order this summer from its US distributor, Global Vehicles, we basically gave up hope on seeing the diesel-powered, 4X4 pickups and SUVs in the land of the free. Luckily, Mahindras are used to rough roads, and if an email that just landed in my inbox is anything to go on (please note the Wild Ass Rumor heading on this post), the venture may just be pulling through. Or perhaps it’s just pulling our leg. Hit the jump for a letter from Global Vehicles president John Perez…
Mahindra may have screwed up its US distribution deal (OK, somebody screwed it up), but perhaps the problem was simply that the Indian firm hadn’t sufficiently motivated the American public. After all, we may love simple, rugged diesel-powered pickups here at TTAC, but third-world-chic isn’t exactly a mass-market trend in the US (yet…). No, what Mahindra needs to get its US-market plans back on track is this, the Mahindra Bolero Attitude, a “custom concept” that Mahindra has been teasing on Facebook. It’s got all the Eff-Off attitude of a Hummer (RIP), but Facebook users report between 30 MPG (13 km per liter in the city) and 35 MPG (15 kmpl) on diesel fuel. With numbers like that, America’s love affair with obnoxiously brash SUVs could just make a comeback…
Since Mahindra doesn’t seem to be giving its self-destructed US distribution channel much attention, we couldn’t help but wonder what exactly is more important to the Indian firm than a little PR the world’s second [sigh] largest car market in the world. The answer, of course, is its acquisition of Ssangyong, a South Korean automaker known only to Americans as the maker of the legendarily ugly Rodius (to be fair, regular TTAC readers may also recall Ssangyong’s bid for world’s ugliest bankruptcy declaration). But the meeting point between Ssangyong and Mahindra isn’t styling, it’s diesel and four-wheel-drive.
Despite the fact that Ssangyong is still technically in receivership, there are still 25 dealers selling its products in Australia on the strength of the motto “We Live Diesel,” while Mahindra has 40 diesel-only Australian dealers. Recently Ssangyong revived the nameplate given to its original product, Korando, for a new model that reportedly launches in Australia later this year. Looking at the evolution of the Korando, from original CJ7 clone to the forthcoming model (which reportedly boasts a 174 hp, 337 lb-ft “German-designed” diesel engine, and available FWD or AWD), one can’t help but wonder where Mahindra sees itself going.