Mahindra pickups to be assembled in Alabama beginning next year

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Never before has such a little truck had to haul so much baggage. It's been years that we've waited for Mahindra's T20 and T40 pickups to finally make it to America, and with a dispute between Mahindra & Mahindra's erstwhile U.S. Importer, GV USA, taking a long time to be settled by arbitrators in London, and dealers filing suits against both Mahindra and GV USA. With GV USA having gone out of business in September, it might be years before we ever see the T20 and T40.

Unless you believe the chaps at Mahindra Planet, "The Unofficial Mahindra U.S. News Source," who seem certain that Mahindra will be manufacturing trucks in the U.S. as of 2012. That's right, not just selling them here, but building them here. Their sources are unnamed, but the prediction relies on Mahindra's connection to Navistar, the international truck and bus maker that recently leased a massive factory complex in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.

Mahindra and Navistar have a joint operation in India, and according to Mahindra Planet, they've worked together since 1963. Navistar has said it will have more than 2,000 people working at the Alabama complex by 2015, but hasn't given any clue as to what it will be building there. Mahindra Planet thinks it will be the T20 and T40, and earlier this year Mahindra's CEO did say that Navistar was a potential U.S. partner.

It would appear to be entirely speculation, but there is one aspect of a tie-up that seems to make "A-ha!" kind of sense: if Mahindra builds pickups at Navistar's factory, it might also take advantage of Navistar's already-established distribution channels. Nevertheless, even if all of this were true, you'll probably have a lengthy wait: beyond the fact that Navistar's complex was only recently set up to build a small number of rail cars, Mahindra hasn't filed paperwork with the EPA for 2012-model-year trucks, so 2013 versions would be the first ones out. You might want to hold off on any wagers concerning that possibility...

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