A group of U.S. dealers who were in line to sell Mahindra-brand pickups imported from India have accused the manufacturer of a conspiracy to bilk them out of $60 million in cash and trade secrets about how to retail in America.
Five would-be Mahindra dealers in five states have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Atlanta alleging that Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. misled dealers about when and how it would enter the United States and "never intended to bring Mahindra vehicles into the U.S. in the fashion that they touted."
Mahindra denied the dealers' claims, placing blame for the failure of plans to sell its pickups here on its former U.S. distributor, Global Vehicles U.S.A. Inc. of Atlanta.
The suit alleges Mahindra has "pocketed more than $9.5 million, more than a $100 million worth of dealer trade secrets to utilize for their future entrance into the U.S. market, and a strong market foundation gained at the expense of the dealers' 'free' promotion of Mahindra's brand name around the U.S."
The suit alleges the Indian conglomerate "wanted an insider's perspective of the U.S. automobile industry, it wanted a ready-made network of dealers, and it wanted someone else to pay for it."