Would-be Mahindra dealers raise funds to help ousted distributor
A group of frustrated dealers who had signed up to sell the Mahindra pickup are raising money to help their thwarted independent U.S. distributor in his legal fight against the vehicle's builder, India's Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.
The dealers have formed the Mahindra Dealers Action Committee to consider their options in the stand-off between Mahindra and Atlanta distributor John Perez.
They are seeking $3,000 donations from each dealer to fund Perez's legal fight to hang on to his -- and their -- claim to the brand.
The group plans to meet next month in Atlanta to consider additional steps to press Mahindra to deliver its India-built diesel pickups.
"We are organizing to make ourselves known," said Joseph Yergeau, a Manchester, N.H., Buick, Cadillac and Mercedes dealer and would-be Mahindra dealer.
He said about a third of the dealers Perez had recruited have contributed funds so far.
Last August, Mahindra declared its four-year relationship with Perez's Global Vehicles U.S.A. over, after Perez had signed up 347 franchisees to sell the trucks. The matter is scheduled to be sorted out in August by an arbitration court in London.
The retailers' Mahindra franchise agreements are with Global, not the manufacturer.
This year Mahindra acquired a 70 percent stake in Korea's Ssangyong Motor Co., an SUV specialist. Ssangyong officials have indicated plans to enter the U.S. market.
Perez declined to comment on the dealers' activities.
But Yergeau says Perez's company is running out of funds to finance its legal case. "They have no way to finance the arbitration in August, and without funds, this case will die a natural death," he said.
The committee has also placed an ad in Automotive News calling for Mahindra to move ahead with the stalled U.S. distribution plan using the existing dealer body.
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