Global Vehicles U.S.A. was under contract to import the diesel-powered Mahindra pickup, but the Indian automaker claimed that the pact had expired. The drama between the two companies began over the summer when GV filed suit against Mahindra in Atlanta, GA claiming that the automaker was attempting to cut the importer out of the action. Mahindra later flat-out refused GV's $35 million order back in September, leading to more bad blood.

But now, Automotive News is reporting that Global Vehicles has withdrawn its lawsuit, but the importer isn't throwing up the white flag just yet. Court papers show the suit was withdrawn because GV chose instead to throw all its efforts into a British arbitration panel that will rule on the case in August. The London panel reportedly refused to rule on the case while there was also a lawsuit in the States.

Mahindra also found itself at the wrong end of the publicity machine in the last week as the Environmental Protection Agency gave its small diesel pickup a lackluster fuel economy rating of 19 miles per gallon in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. Those numbers are nowhere near the 30 mpg Mahindra has promised all along, but GV CEO John Perez has apparently told AN that the vehicle tested was the four-wheel-drive equipped four-door model. Perez claims that the rear-drive, two-door model will have 40 percent better fuel economy than the loaded-up four-door, and the 30 mpg number will still happen.

We know four-wheel-drive and the extra weight of a crew cab configuration will hurt fuel economy, but in our mind, that still doesn't add up to a 40-percent drop in fuel efficiency. Either way, we'll have to hold out hope that Perez is right, because unless the model offers exceptional economy, we think it's going to have a seriously hard time building a business case for itself among America's consumers.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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