Mahindra delays launch in U.S. to late 2009

Truck shoppers hoping to grab a Mahindra pickup early next year are gonna have to wait a little longer. It seems the challenges of bringing an India-made vehicle to the U.S. are difficult, and the vehicles now won't go on sale in the U.S. before the fourth quarter of 2009.

Even though 324 dealers have signed up to sell the truck, few of them have actually built the needed facilities. That's not enough to keep Georgia-based Global Vehicles from going ahead with their plans to begin U.S. sales. But GV's CEO John Perez recenly spoke to Mahindra's global managing director Anand Mahindra who, according to Automotive News, said that no truck with his family's name on it was going to fail in the U.S. Mr. Mahindra plans to run a fleet of his company's vehicles over 3.2 million miles of U.S. roads before he'll be approve the trucks for sale here.

The plan is for the trucks to utilize a 4-cylinder diesel engine not yet approved by the EPA. But Perez says he has no fear their January application will have any trouble getting blessed.

While the trucks are getting some U.S. experience, Global Vehicles will continue to sign up new dealers, and hopes to have 450 by the end of 2009. The importer has a sales goal of 50,000 vehicles a year, though Mahindra says it could produce as many as 400,000 U.S.-bound trucks if demand is there. And if Mahindra's promise of 30 mpg holds true, there could be huge demand. If things go well, look for a diesel-powered Mahindra SUV to follow.

[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd,]

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