The Georgia distributor of Indian pickups is raring to go, but the man whose name is on the trucks — Anand Mahindra — says not so fast.
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., of Mumbai, India, has told its independent U.S. distributor to delay the 2009 retail launch for six months while the manufacturer spends most of next year evaluating its trucks on U.S. roads.
The request will mean that Mahindra brand diesel pickups will start sales in the fourth quarter of 2009 instead of spring 2009, says John Perez, CEO of Global Vehicles USA Inc. in Alpharetta, Ga. A Mahindra diesel SUV will follow in 2010.
Few of the 324 dealers who have signed up to sell Mahindra have constructed stores.
Perez says the manufacturer has informed him that Mahindra intends to clock about 3.2 million road miles on a fleet of 25 trucks in the United States before the pickups go on sale.
In August, Perez spoke with Anand Mahindra, the family-owned truckmaker's global managing director. Says Perez: "Mr. Mahindra said to me, 'My family's name is going onto this vehicle, and it's not going to fail.' "
The small pickups will use an untested, clean-burning, four-cylinder diesel engine that has not yet been approved by the EPA. The agency has imposed tighter new 50-state diesel emission requirements for 2010. Mahindra will apply for certification in January, and Perez says he has no worry about receiving approval.