Now that India's Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. finally has a pickup approved for sale in the United States, it may have no dealers.
Last week Mahindra said it terminated its four-year agreement with its independent U.S. importer, Global Vehicles U.S.A. Inc., of Alpharetta, Ga. The previous week, Mahindra's diesel-powered pickup had received emissions certification from the EPA.
Mahindra posted news of its break with Global Vehicles on its Web site Thursday, Aug. 26. Its statement hangs a question mark over 300 to 350 U.S. retailers who have signed franchise agreements directly with Global.
Global said "such attempted termination is invalid" under applicable U.S. and Georgia laws, "something which Mahindra continues to disregard."
In an e-mail to Automotive News, Global Vehicles spokesman Max Butler wrote that the company intends to sell the pickups and is "in the process of taking orders and updating all floor plan agreements in anticipation for Mahindra to provide Global Vehicles with the initial production date."
Some U.S. retailers already have procured showrooms to sell the Mahindra pickup.
George Madison expects to be sales manager of a Perez-authorized Mahindra dealership in Columbia, Mo. He says the corporate squabble is less important than the EPA certification.
"It's our understanding that everything that has been holding up the truck has been taken care of, and the trucks could be here by December," he says. But what if Mahindra has dropped Global? "We don't believe that's true," he says. "We're really excited about starting sales."
Global CEO John Perez, a former auto dealer, has spent four years coaxing Mahindra into the U.S. market. Mahindra originally planned to begin U.S. sales in mid-2009 but delayed the launch after retailers and Perez asked for numerous product changes.