Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Mahindra Pickup Arrives Late, But Well-Equipped

Expect Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.’s first U.S.-market offering to make its showroom debut in first-quarter 2010.

In deference to the demanding nature of American consumers, Mahindra tweaked the yet-unnamed small pickup, which delayed by about three months its production launch.

Output of U.S.-specification models now is set for December at the auto maker’s assembly plant in Nasik, India, with showroom arrival scheduled for early to mid-February.

Meanwhile, Mahindra has shelved tentative plans to build the 2- and 4-door models, known internally as TR20 and TR40, respectively, in Ohio.

In a telephone interview from Global’s headquarters in Alpharetta, GA, Daniel tells Ward’s he expects Mahindra to “make an investment and employ some Americans” when industry volumes begin to trend upward (that's nice of them).

Mahindra Appalachian Looks like a cross between a Daewoo and a Jeep.

To make the truck more appealing to U.S. consumers, its front end was restyled and now features “jewel-like qualities,” (yea right) adds Max Butler, Global vice president-marketing.

The truck will be powered by a 140-hp 2.2L 4-cyl. diesel engine with projected combined city-highway fuel-economy of 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km). Available with 2-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive, it also will feature a 6-speed automatic transmission and electronic stability control.

More than 300 dealers look forward to selling Mahindra vehicles.

“We’re thinking we can lease (the pickup) to small businesses,” The diesel engine likely will become a selling feature as gasoline prices increase.

Particularly enthusiastic about the prospects of Mahindra SUV expected to arrive in mid- to late-2010, Taylor also is buoyed by results of an AutoPacific study that says American consumers are warm to an Indian-brand vehicle. “It’s a world market and it’s on a roll,” he says (I guess if anything's cheap enough, American onsumers will be warm to it).

The study findings are consistent with Mahindra’s vision of a customer base that comprises “independent thinkers,” (the "stroke the American ego" tactic)Daniel says.
They don’t really care about what people think about what they’re driving,” he adds. “They’re influencers. They’re not followers. I think they’ll be out there with their kayaks, and they’ll be out hiking and doing all the things (like putting) surfboards on top in California.” (what a pile of b.s.).

The Toyota Tacoma, along with the Nissan Frontier and Dodge Dakota, are among the trucks Mahindra is targeting as direct competitors.

Daniel favors the Australian nameplate: Pik Up. “That hit me and I like it,” he says, promising Mahindra’s pricing strategy will “blow away” the segment.
However, Daniel does not reveal numbers.

Mahindra - a real off-road vehicle!


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