Indian car-maker Mahindra & Mahindra had previously announced plans to enter the U.S. market in 2009 with its Scorpio SUV and Appalachian pickup truck with diesel power. Our pal Mike over at PickupTruck.com has been in contact with John Perez, CEO of Global Vehicles USA, the importer who will be bringing in Mahindra's products. It turns out the company is planning to move beyond just diesel. In 2010, Mahindra plans to offer a hybrid system mated with the diesel. If they do make it to market by 2010, Mahindra will likely be the first production diesel hybrid in a light duty application. So far the only diesel hybrids on American Roads are the big transit buses now running many cities.

Global Vehicles spokesman John Reinan told ABG that they didn't have any details yet on the nature of the hybrid system that appear on the Indian trucks. They had only received word the day before from the manufacturer that the hybrid version would appear one year after the standard diesel version. For what it's worth, the Senior VP of Product Development at Mahindra is Dr. Arun Jaura. Prior to joining Mahindra a couple of years ago, Dr. Jaura worked at Ford where he was the Head of Vehicle Engineering for Ford's Escape Hybrid Platform, so he is quite familiar with hybrid technology. According Reinan, the target base price for the 2- and 4-door pickup trucks is in the low-twenties with the SUV starting in the mid-twenties. The hybrid is expected to have a price premium of no more than $5,000 (before tax credits). The U.S.-version of Mahindra's new mHawk 2.2L four cylinder engine should produce around 145-150hp with 300lb-ft of torque which should be more than adequate for the mid-size trucks. The engine was developed with help from Bosch and powertrain engineering specialists AVL.

[Sources: PickupTruck.com and Global Vehicles USA]

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