Mahindra Distributor Says Pickups Passed Tests; Parent Company Silent

By Chris Haak

John Perez, CEO of Global Vehicles of Alpharetta, Georgia – and Indian manufacturer Mahindra’s US distributor – told Automotive News [sub required] that the manufacturer has completed all US EPA-required certification tests and will submit a formal request for EPA approval to sell the vehicle in the United States within the next few days.

The US compact pickup market has been struggling in recent years, with most entrants shifting from compact to midsize dimensions (with the notable exception of Ford’s antediluvian Ranger, which dates to 1993 in its current form), and the resulting size and horsepower increases bumped up the trucks’ capabilities, but also put them dangerously close to the price and fuel economy of full-size trucks.  So most buyers elected to just step up to a full-size pickup for the small difference in price.

The vehicle that Mahindra plans to sell at the 350 dealers that have signed on with Global Vehicles is, in effect, almost a “reset” of the notion of a small pickup in the US.  The pickups will have four cylinder turbodiesels and six-speed automatic transmissions at launch, and should get considerably better fuel economy than any other pickup on the market.  The trucks’ styling is somewhat dated, but almost in a charming, retro way.  Particularly with the tiedown hooks along the entire top of the pickup bed’s sides, they remind one of the old Datsun and Toyota pickups of the 1970s.  You know, the ones that basically created the compact pickup market in the US.

Perez, for his part, declined to give an anticipated launch date for the pickup, since the company has had a series of delays already.  According to him, Mahindra has news about the trucks, but has become perhaps somewhat gun-shy about announcing anything about the trucks before the ts are crossed and the is are dotted, given the previous delays (most recently, the trucks were to have launched in February 2010).

Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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4 Comments

  1. The PikUp in both single and dualcab forms has been Australian Design Rule compliant for a couple of years now. Crash testing resulted in a 2 from 5 score http://www.ancap.com.au/results/261/ but they’ve since been fitted standard with ABS and dual front airbags.

    Not bad for a range of utes typically priced under AU$30K driveaway.

    But then we also have access to the Great Wall range of Chinese utes and the Izuzu range of D-max utes (including the Holden knock off) plus new Thai-made Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton….and the Euro utes (VW Transporter, Fiat Ducato, Ford Transit)…..the list goes on.

  2. I believe Mahindra will find some success in the US market, despite the unknown brand and odd styling. There is a market for small pickups, in the sprit of the original small trucks from the 70s and 80s, when the trucks were purchased for their efficiency, price, and capability. In the late 80s and into the 90s, small trucks became lifestyle vehicles, but most automakers still market them as such even as that market has shrank. A true workhorse small truck will sell, as evidenced by the continued sales success of the Ranger despite Ford’s best efforts to kill it.

  3. I still think that only offering an automatic is going to hurt sales. Small truck buyers are still disproportionally manual folks.

  4. “The vehicle that Mahindra plans to sell at the 350 dealers that have signed on with Global Vehicles is, in effect, almost a “reset” of the notion of a small pickup in the US.” You’re absolutely right – midsize pickups have gotten bigger and more accessorized over the years to the point where you almost cannot tell the difference from a full-size. I’m glad Mahindra is bringing a compact workhorse. With the added benefit of clean diesel technology.

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