Mahindra Distributor Says Pickups Passed Tests; Parent Company Silent
By Chris Haak
John Perez, CEO of Global Vehicles of Alpharetta, Georgia – and Indian manufacturer Mahindra’s US distributor – told Automotive News [sub required] that the manufacturer has completed all US EPA-required certification tests and will submit a formal request for EPA approval to sell the vehicle in the United States within the next few days.
The US compact pickup market has been struggling in recent years, with most entrants shifting from compact to midsize dimensions (with the notable exception of Ford’s antediluvian Ranger, which dates to 1993 in its current form), and the resulting size and horsepower increases bumped up the trucks’ capabilities, but also put them dangerously close to the price and fuel economy of full-size trucks. So most buyers elected to just step up to a full-size pickup for the small difference in price.
The vehicle that Mahindra plans to sell at the 350 dealers that have signed on with Global Vehicles is, in effect, almost a “reset” of the notion of a small pickup in the US. The pickups will have four cylinder turbodiesels and six-speed automatic transmissions at launch, and should get considerably better fuel economy than any other pickup on the market. The trucks’ styling is somewhat dated, but almost in a charming, retro way. Particularly with the tiedown hooks along the entire top of the pickup bed’s sides, they remind one of the old Datsun and Toyota pickups of the 1970s. You know, the ones that basically created the compact pickup market in the US.
Perez, for his part, declined to give an anticipated launch date for the pickup, since the company has had a series of delays already. According to him, Mahindra has news about the trucks, but has become perhaps somewhat gun-shy about announcing anything about the trucks before the ts are crossed and the is are dotted, given the previous delays (most recently, the trucks were to have launched in February 2010).