After experiencing a series of setbacks when trying to import a small, inexpensive work truck from India, a group of U.S. dealerships from New Jersey, Florida, California, New Hampshire, and Washington is suing Mahindra & Mahindra and Mahindra USA over allegations of fraud, misrepresentation and conspiracy.
"Mahindra told the dealers that its light trucks and SUVs were ready for delivery to the U.S. market," said Michael Diaz, the managing partner of Miami-based Diaz Reus & Targ. Diaz leads the plaintiff's legal team of Gary Davidson, Brant Hadaway, Carlos Gonzalez and Sumeet Chugani. "However, Mahindra intentionally delayed certification of its vehicles after obtaining the dealership fees and trade secrets, and began pursuing other partners in the U.S. and elsewhere in clear violation of their commitments."
The Indian car company has denied the allegations.
This is likely to be the last possible effort for dealers that made investments in new and expanded dealerships to recover at least part of their money. Whether or not they will be able to prove there was active and willful fraud behind Mahindra's eventual withdrawal from the U.S. marketplace (especially when there could be evidence presented that the small-truck market, let alone the entire U.S. economy, could have weaknesses remains to be seen.
No matter what happens, only one thing is for certain: The continuing saga of a small, inexpensive, diesel-powered little work truck doesn't seem to want to die.