New York Times. India’s leading sport utility maker—Mahindra & Mahindra—plans to sell its SUVs and pickup trucks in the United States through an American distributor, bringing Indian-made vehicles to the United States for the first time.
The company will sell its vehicles through Global Vehicles USA., a distributor based in Alpharetta, Ga. Global will import the first group of the Indian vehicles in about a year and distribute them through a dealer network. The distributor said it had signed on 130 dealers so far and would add another 70 in the coming months.
“Half of the global sales in S.U.V.’s and pickups is in the United States and we want to capture at least a fraction of that to start with,” said Pawan Goenka, president of the automotive division of Mahindra & Mahindra, the Indian manufacturer. The United States is the “ultimate market,” he said in a telephone interview from Mumbai.
Last week, Mahindra & Mahindra announced a joint venture with Renault to build a greenfield plant in India with a capacity of 500,000 cars a year, starting in 2009.
Mahindra plans to initially introduce a sport utility vehicle and a pickup in the US. A diesel-electric hybrid version of the SUV would follow.
In January, Mahindra & Mahindra unveiled its concept of the Scorpio diesel hybrid—a hybrid SUV that it said at the time would require another three to four years to be commercialized. The Scorpio SUV hybrid delivers 15-16 km/liter—approximately 6.7 to 6.25 l/100 km, or approximately 35 to 37 mpg US.
It was not clear whether the S.U.V.’s and pickups that Mahindra planned to export to the United States would run on diesel fuel or gasoline. All major manufacturers of diesel passenger vehicles except Mercedes-Benz have withdrawn from the United States market because of difficulties in meeting stricter standards for the 2007 model year.
Mahindra, the world’s fourth-largest maker of tractors, already sells tractors for farming use in the United States and has three local assembly plants there.
(A belated hat-tip to Allen!)