According to Pawan Goenka, Mahindra's president for global automotive, vehicle testing that would provide EPA approval for the Indian automaker's upcoming diesel-powered, 30-mile-per-gallon pickup truck "is taking a bit longer than what we anticipated." That, it would seem, is an understatement.
Mahindra first announced an expected mid-2009 sale date for the truck, which was later revised to end-of-2009, then February of 2010 and then finally March of 2010. You'll notice that this Thursday the calendar turns the page to April, meaning Mahindra has missed yet another target date.
At this point, Mahindra does not yet have official approval from the EPA to sell its wares in the United States. The Indian automaker says it should take about a month for the paperwork to be completed (a timeframe not acknowledged by the EPA, naturally) and then dealers can finally place orders for the trucks. Considering that Mahindra's vehicles will ship from India, it's clear that there will still be some time before you'll be able to stroll down to you nearest dealer and drive off in a new oil-burning bundle of joy.
That fact is not lost on Mahindra's 300-plus dealers, some of whom have paid up to $200,000 in franchise fees and in some cases have been waiting for years to see their investment pay off. That said, nobody ever said that launching a completely new brand of vehicles in the U.S. was going to be easy, inexpensive or timely.