• Nov 18, 2009
Mahindra 'potential' dealer network - Click above to enlarge

No, you're not looking at yet another voting map, or even a topographical depiction of the WalMarting of America (trust us, you don't want to see that). The image seen above is that of Mahindra's "dealership network." We're putting quotes on that because the Indian automaker says on its website that the dots represent only "potential" outlets for their forthcoming small diesel pickup trucks.

Even if the map hasn't been finalized (and doesn't have an associated time frame for each franchise coming on-line), the map is interesting because it illustrates widespread interest in the brand. Credit for that in part should go to the promise of a robust, cheap, and fuel-efficient small truck from a major global player – but it should be equally predictable because there are lots of showrooms sitting empty (or on their way to doing so) thanks to the downsizing of dealer networks associated with General Motors, Chrysler and other automakers.

We could have predicted widespread traction for the brand in regions like the Midwest and even the Northeast, but the concentration of likely franchises in Florida surprises us. Either way, we'll have to wait a bit longer to see just who finally ends up selling the automaker's TR20 and TR40 models – they are expected to go on sale in the first quarter of next year. Hat tip to Sunny B!



[Source: Mahindra]


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  • 39 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I really want a TR40!!! I love the diesel, I just wish I could get it with a proper manual transmission - not to mention a solid front axle and diff locks. Oh well, aftermarket parts can fix those last two deficiencies.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Could the Mahindra logo get any closer to Oldsmobile's last design?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll believe it when I see it. Mahindra has been saying for several years that they are coming to the US, with no apparent progress.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It looks tiny, and except for the headlights, the styling looks like it's straight out of the '80s. All it needs is some goofy tape stripes.
        • 5 Years Ago
        yeah, that's why i like it. Small, old school truck. If I could buy a new Datsun lil hustler, I would but since i can't, this is the next best thing. The diesel is a extra plus.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is awesome. I will not have any trouble being able to test one of these promising trucks.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ha haaa... SCREW YOU, MONTANA!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am very interested in this type of truck.

      HEAR THAT DETROIT?

      My apprehension is Mahindra's unknown status hear as an auto maker. Will they be the next Hyundai or the next Yugo?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wunderbird -
        The biggest problem with new diesel products in America is the HORRIBLE cost-to-benefit ratio. In simple terms, diesel vehicles now have to meet the same stringent emissions regulations that gasoline passenger cars have to.
        In particular - NOx and Particulate emissions are very tough to meet economically. Currently, American manufacturers only see the 3/4 ton and up market as a safe play - as most of those trucks are purchased to be put to work - they need maximum power and good fuel economy. "Big" truck diesel customers are willing to pay up front for that benefit; I believe the Duramax option in GM's lineup is around $7500. A lot of that cost is driven by the fact the new trucks have so many different controls for emissions, and a very complicated and expensive aftertreatment system.

        Of course, you can get a 3/4 or 1 ton truck with the standard 6.0L petrol engine, but if you're always towing a load - your fuel economy will be significantly less than the Duramax-equipped truck. Not to mention the advantage of a turbo-diesel anytime you start pulling through any mountain roads.

        So, as we pull back from the "big" trucks and look into light-duty vehicles, similar controls and aftertreatment are needed and present additional expense. This added expense is only part of the problem, but we'll start here. Americans, for the most part, are only concerned with fuel economy when fuel prices start heading north of $3.50-$4.00. Until then, most of us are happy driving whatever large/comfy/fast/etc. vehicle we own and go about our own business.

        There are a few of us, for whatever reason, that really, really want diesels as an option in the U.S. My reason is because I am an incredibly cheap engineer that likes to push the limit on what I can get out of everything. We own two vehicles - one is a 30 mpg wagon, the other is an old Ford 7.3L diesel 2wd pickup. The diesel is mainly a lawn ornament when we're not camping - but when I throw my camper in the bed and tow a small enclosed trailer on a trip - I average just a smidge over 16 mpg. That's not bad, considering the total weight is just over 6 tons. The same load in a gasoline pickup might net 10 mpg if I was lucky.

        I digress. The point I'm trying to make is that there IS demand for diesels in small vehicles - but the demand is small and customers would need to be pulled away from other manufacturers (i.e. VW). That's a risk we don't seem to want to take. Back when I worked on the Lincoln LS, I was responsible for several calibrations on the V6 manual model. The LS manual was less than 5% of total LS sales, dealerships refused to order any because they couldn't move them and Ford ended dropping the manual in the first refresh. It just didn't make sense to offer a car that had so few buyers that required an expensive transmission (same Getrag used by BMW at the time, right down to the gear ratios), a different rear differential and so on and so-forth.

        Another big reason American manufacturers are hesitant to offer diesels in light-duty vehicles is the EPA's in-use emissions testing and 150K mile emission system warranty. The aftertreatment is complex and expensive - it is also very sensitive to engine calibrations and the potential modifications that can happen. If the entire system is not kept on the vehicle as designed, or someone changes fueling - there is potential for rapid system aging and or thermal cracking and failure. The manufacturer is responsible for those costs - SO - not only are you selling the vehicle at a very low margin or at a loss; you also open yourself up to great risk down the road in warranty replacement.

        I understand that VW does okay and Mercedes sell diesels here too - but in my honest opinion - they've been building upon a technology and experience base that the American manufacturers don't have (Maybe 30 years? Heck, I owned a 82 Jetta with a 1.5L diesel that made a whopping 54 horsepower).

        A bit depressing, but I don't think there are enough benefits present to loosen the purse strings around here to get it done. :(
      • 5 Years Ago
      This truck looks like I could take my old hand-held manual can opener to it and open it up like a can of tuna. It will be interesting to see the quality of the steel in person, and how well this thing holds up to brutal winter weather and conditions.
      • 5 Years Ago
      One of my local Dodge dealers (Mt. Clemens Dodge) that got the shaft from Chrysler is now advertising on its building that they will be a Mahindra dealer.

      I cant wait till they have one, I really want to see one in person.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nice, Philadelphia region looks to be well represented. I know what i'll be looking for next year.
      matthew
      • 5 Years Ago
      Would anyone actually trust the quality of a "made in India" vehicle? Look at the junk that we import from them now. Great! Coming soon: MORE JUNK CARS CLUTTERING UP THE ROAD FROM A COUNTRY KNOWN FOR CHEAP LABOR AND POOR QUALITY CONTROL!

      Can you buy them at Wal Mart, or is that only going to be "made in China" cars?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Cheap? Isn't this ugly duckling going to cost about $23,000? How is that cheap?
        • 5 Years Ago
        A 4dr shortbed 4x4 V6 Tacoma is almost $28k as is a Nissan Frontier. The Mahindra is $24k. The Mahinda has a much higher payload, bigger bed, although towing capacity will probably be similar. All that low end torque will probably make for easier towing. Sure, you can get much cheaper small trucks, but they won't do what the Mahindra does.
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