Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. will shake up the U.S. truck market next year when it introduces a new midsize pickup called the Appalachian sporting a 2.2L four-cylinder diesel engine producing around 150 horsepower and 300 pound feet of torque. Speaking with Mike Levine from Pickuptruck.com, John Perez, the CEO of Atlanta-based importer Global Vehicles U.S.A. that's aiding Mahindra's entry into the U.S. market, revealed that the truck will deliver 30 to 35 miles per gallon and cost in the mid-$20,000 range. It will be paired with a six-speed automatic that's controlled via a floor-mounted shifter or paddle shifters(!), have a class-leading payload of 2,600 lbs. and feature a 60,000-mile, four year bumper-to-bumper warranty.
If that's not enough to strike fear in domestic and import truck makers alike, Mahindra has also revealed plans to sell a diesel hybrid version of its pickup by 2010. If it happens, the diesel hybrid Appalachian will be, as far as we know, the only diesel hybrid on sale in the U.S. market and achieve fuel economy figures even higher than its diesel-only counterpart. Imagine a midsize pickup in the low-$30,000 price range capable of 40+ mpg.
The Appalachian has yet to go through U.S. certification for emissions and safety, but the company is spending $80 million to ensure its truck passes with no issues. After that, production will begin in India on March 15, 2009, but the trucks will finish assembly at a plant in Ohio to avoid high import taxes. After that, customers can visit a 300-strong dealer network with 24 standalone dealerships, one of which is already under construction.