Where Are Those NSFWing Mahindra Pickups Already?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Since EPA certification has not been obtained, we were worried the delays would continue. We want to begin sales in December as Mahindra stated to the press on May 17th. Our sole intent was to get Mahindra focused on not missing another deadline. We simply wanted to protect you, our dealers, and your investment in the Mahindra brand.

That’s what John Perez, President of Mahindra’s US-market distributor Global Vehicles wants to know. Perez is suing the Indian manufacturer of the compact diesel pickups and SUVs to make sure his dealers dealers don’t miss a fourth blown sales deadline. Mahindra, according to Global’s suit, has not yet filed official EPA paperwork for any of its vehicles. December launch, huh?

Automotive News [sub] reports that Global’s suit further alleges that

Mahindra has delayed the process by pressing Global for financial details about its U.S. operations and has rejected Global’s preliminary vehicle sales projections.

If you know what that means, please let us know. Really. Because it seems strange that Mahindra would test a vehicle but not file EPA paperwork. The excuse that Global wants to order too many trucks rings equally hollow coming from a manufacturer. Mahindra’s building the trucks for other markets, why not send “too many” to the states? Better Mahindra sue deadbeat dealers than be sued by dealers for being a deadbeat factory, right?

Problem is, Mahindra isn’t deadbeat. It’s distracted. With an incomprehensible takeover of the defunct ( literally in a cloud of smoke) Korean OEM Ssangyong, no less. And now they’re in talks with Proton for an Indian-market JV… and more? In short, Mahindra is focused on Asia, rather than shipping rugged compact diesel pickups to a mature market on the other side of the world.

From a business perspective, it’s hard to blame them. At this point though, it’s better to have tried and failed, than to back out halfway through leaving your distributor to take legal action in order to buy your product. Especially for a global brand like Mahindra. If the engine failed EPA tests, on the other hand, Mahindra’s reticence is completely understandable. Either way, the picture isn’t looking pretty for first-world fans of third-world utility.

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  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Jun 29, 2010

    I'm more cynical. srclontz mentioned Mahindra's network of tractor dealers. Right now, it's Global that's received earnest money from dealers, not Mahindra. Also it's not likely Mahindra has any skin in Global's game, any large investment in this venture beyond getting the truck ready for EPA and other certs, which they'd have to do in any case. Now that Global has demonstrated demand from dealers (both to become dealers and in their preliminary orders of product), maybe Mahindra wants to jettison Global and set up their own distribution network, perhaps starting with their tractor dealers. Though foreign car companies have used independent importers (most famously Subaru and Malcolm Bricklin) to gain a beachhead in the US, they all eventually use wholly owned subsidiaries. Maybe Mahindra realizes that.

  • Maximus Maximus on Jun 30, 2010

    All this legal bickering doesn’t concern me. It involves two parties and a lot internal legalese which has not been released to the public. Based on comments by the president of Mahindra’s automotive sector, the company is serious about the US launch. They’ve already invested significant amounts of money in the launch so I really don’t think they’re going to back out at the last minute. After all, the president has said the trucks are coming December 2010. Until the company officially announces the launch is off (and/or another OEM announces a midsize diesel pickup) I’m waiting for them.

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