Global Vehicles U.S.A., Mahindra's exclusive automotive distributor, has sued the Indian automaker because of the long delays experienced in importing the light-duty diesel pickup trucks to the United States.
Initially expected in early 2009, the Mahindra TR20 and TR40 light-duty trucks remain missing in action. Delays have consistently set back the launch date, even after 350 dealers in the United States have plunked down over $60 million in franchise fees, according to the lawsuit. Global Vehicles stated it has spent close to $35 million in preparation for a truck that slowly looks less and less likely to arrive.
Rather than just seek compensatory damages, Global Vehicles wants to right the situation for the dealers. The lawsuit is asking the federal circuit to force Mahindra's hand and comply with the original terms of agreement by finally delivering the long-delayed trucks. An injunction to prevent Mahindra from negotiating with another distributor has also been requested after Global Vehicles stated the Mumbai-based automaker was needlessly and continuously haggling with emissions and safety testing contractors. In addition to the lack of federal sale approval, GV U.S.A. says it received a new "onerous" set of financial demands last year in order to import the trucks, another deviation from the original contract. The two parties are currently in arbitration.
If the Mahindra trucks had actually gone on sale in 2009, they would (and still) be the only light-duty diesel trucks offered in the States. Preliminary specifications peg the heart of the trucks to be a 2.2-liter turbo-diesel inline-four developing 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque and matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. Both a regular and crew cab will be offered and the relatively no-frills trucks will reportedly be priced somewhere in the low $20,000s. If you're wondering about the pricing, the trucks are indeed imported and therefore subject to our infamous "chicken" tax.
Whether the trucks will finally make it to the U.S. remains to be seen but Mahindra's North America Web site has been updated to specify a late fall 2010 debut.
Source: Global Atlanta