The U.S. launch of Mahindra's Indian-built small diesel pickup trucks has been pushed back yet again, from this spring to December 2010, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
Pawan Goenka, Mahindra's president of automotive operations, reaffirmed that the TR20 and TR40 compact trucks have completed all of the testing required to meet federal requirements but still require certification from the Environmental Protection Agency before they can go on sale in the U.S. That's expected to happen by the end of July, but production won't start until this fall.
Repeated delays have become the norm for Mahindra and its U.S. distributor, Global Vehicles USA. Originally, the trucks were scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2009. That date was later pushed back to December 2009. Then, in August of last year, Goenka promised the trucks would be on sale by February 2010 before pushing the date to the spring.
Last month, John Perez, CEO of GV USA, expressed frustration with the Indian automaker. "It's a battle with Mahindra to get information from them," he said. "It's not because they don't have the information. It's the culture. They don't like to make announcements."
Goenka also said that Mahindra hopes to capture 5 percent to 7 percent of the U.S. small-truck market by the end of the first year of production and that the company continues to look for a partner to assemble its trucks domestically by the end of 2011 to avoid a 25 percent import tariff imposed on pickups built in most countries outside the U.S., including India.
Mahindra TR20 and TR40 pickups will be offered in two cab configurations: a two-door regular cab and a four-door crew cab. Both will use a slightly modified version of Mahindra's mHawk 2.2-liter inline-four-cylinder diesel engine. It's expected to have fuel economy ratings as high as 30 mpg and 1.3-ton hauling capability. Pricing is expected to start around $22,000.
[Source: The Wall Street Journal (subscription required)]