Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dakar and Mahindra

The 2010 Dakar Rally begins tomorrow, January 1st. The 32nd running of the Dakar will lead off-road competitors from around the world through 14 grueling stages and 5,600 treacherous miles of asphalt, sand, and gravel in the short span of 17 days. This year’s event will cover some of the toughest roads and trails in Argentina and Chile. Volkswagen hopes to dominate with their 300hp TDI powered Race Touareg rally trucks as they did in 2009 and even have an American (Mark Miller) driving one of them. Worth following: Dakar Rally 2010

Anticipation of the 2010 Dakar led me to reflect on the 2009 running of the Rally Dos Sertoes. Rally dos Sertoes is a Brazilian adventure rally regarded by some as the second toughest stage rally in the world behind the Dakar. Last June and July the 2009 Rally dos Sertoes saw 128 competitors navigate 3,100 miles of varied Brazilian terrain from jungle to plains with multiple water crossings mixed in between.

Unique to the 2009 Rally dos Sertoes was the participation of a Mahindra truck privateer effort. The non-factory supported effort was lead by veteran rally driver Ricardo Augusto de Souza Campos (better known as Rasc), and sponsored by Brazilian Mahindra dealer Mahindra-Govesa and Mahindra by Bramont (the Brazilian manufacturer of Mahindra products).

Mahindra-Govesa and Rasc prepared a Mahindra Scorpio pickup (equivalent to the TR20 the US will be getting) for the competitive T2 class for stock production cars and trucks. Class rules require the mostly stock vehicles to be equipped with an FIA legal roll cage, some chassis reinforcement, rally seats/harnesses, and a safety fuel cell. With much surprise, Rasc along with his son (Rasquinho), finished the rally third in class, bettering 65 other vehicles from Ford, Chevy, and Toyota. The Mahindra was 1 of only 29 vehicles in the class who finished the demanding rally.

For a great video summary of the rally and highlights of the Mahindra effort, click on the link to the well done video. Mahindra at Rally dos Sertoes

The Mahindra pickup makes a pretty sweet looking race truck, and it certainly got the job done. There is no Mahindra competing in the 2010 Dakar, but maybe we will see more of Mahindra in international off-road racing in the future. If we are lucky, maybe we will even see a Mahindra pickup prepared for the Baja 1000 next November.

Here’s to a great 2010, and good luck to all the brave souls racing the Dakar and all international off-road racing!

Sources: As Hyperlinked

New Virginia Dealer: Mahindra of Harrisonburg

Mahindra Planet has added Mahindra of Harrisonburg to our Dealer Directory. Mahindra of Harrisonburg has the exclusive territory of 6 counties in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Mahindra of Harrisonburg will be the only Mahindra dealer within a 200-250 mile radius.

Mahindra of Harrisonburg’s Jeff Wetherell tells Mahindra Planet:

“Located in the Shenandoah Valley, the heart of Virginia, is Mahindra of Harrisonburg which is in the process of converting the current independent dealership there into a franchise. Currently operating as South Main Motors, Inc. with the website, we will soon be on the web when we go live after the first of the year.”

Mahindra Planet welcomes Mahindra of Harrisonburg.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Breaking: Mahindra Dealer Update Video!

UPDATE 24-DEC-2009: Unfortunately, not long after the Mahindra dealer video link leaked out, GV-USA disabled it. Probably the fastest movement by GV-USA we've ever seen. We have no idea why it was pulled, because Mahindra Planet feels this was a great piece of communication not only to the dealers, but to fans of the brand. Our summary is below, and we also recommend going to for Mike Levine's post: More info as we get it...

“I know this has been a test of your patience and also mine…” John Perez, CEO of Global Vehicles USA Inc.

A link to a dealer video was submitted in our comments section today by an anonymous source. The link appears to be for dealer-eyes only, but it sure seems to go a long way in placating rabid Mahindra truck fans.

Here is the link:

A few details of the video include:
- The vehicles will be here in the middle of spring.
- Dealers will be contacted directly by GV-USA on a weekly basis beginning in January
- GV-USA promises 24-hour turnaround on parts supply
- All US certification will be complete by the end of January

Source: Thank You, Anonymous!

Yet Another Saab Story: Mahindra Buying Spree

Months ago Mahindra announced a strategic partnership with Navistar, International Truck and Engine Corporation, to build India-specific heavy trucks powered by India-built MaxxForce engines. In November, Mahindra announced a joint venture with BAE to build military vehicles in India. Not that long ago, Mahindra announced they were going to pursue the Indian two-wheeled market beyond scooters and begin building motorcycles. Recently, Mahindra has been in talks with Boeing and Airbus about supplying aviation components, and last week Mahindra bought two Australian aerospace companies. This week, Mahindra released news of a joint venture with Chinese tractor manufacturer Yueda.

Where will it stop? The speculation about Mahindra buying the rotting corpse of Saab from fallen automotive giant GM still looms large.

Last week, Twitter users who follow Anand Mahindra noticed an odd Tweet (well, a Re-Tweet actually) about Mahindra in position to buy Saab. Far-fetched for sure, but it was certainly interesting that Mahindra took the time to read and Re-Tweet (RT) the sentiment. It appeared as follows:

@AnandMahindra: RT @anishkurien: GM winding up Saab good chance for M&M to
take over an international brand at a bargain./Well wht do u think of d

Mahindra did not publicly respond to the question, but it is pretty interesting that he did put it out there for the Twitter universe to see.

Mahindra & Mahindra have been on a global buying/partnering spree in the past year. And over the last three years, Mahindra has shown a great deal of interest in buying several international automotive enterprises including Hummer, Land Rover, Bertone (the Italian auto design house), and most recently one of Fiat’s factories in Italy.

When GM announced the sale of Saab in November, speculation of Mahindra’s interest first surfaced. Could Mahindra step in at the last minute and soak up the Saab gravy at a bargain basement sale price?

Sources: As Hyperlinked

New VP of Sales and Marketing at Global Vehicles While Delays Remain Likely

Dan T. Najour has been named executive vice president of sales and marketing for Mahindra importer, Global Vehicles USA. Najour replaces Larry Daniel in the senior vice president position and brings with him 30 years of automotive sales experience to the GV-USA organization.

It is unclear what circumstances lead to the replacement of Daniel. However, GV-USA and Mahindra are said to still be working toward an eventual 2010 launch. Rumors lead us to believe that US-bound Mahindra TR20 and TR40 pickups will be manufactured in India beginning in January 2010 with a soft launch (key markets first) expected in February of 2010. However, some dealers are stating that they expect trucks in mid-May 2010.

NHTSA and EPA approval of the vehicles is still unknown. In a mid-November interview, GV-USA spokesman, Mike Geylin stated that NHTSA and EPA approval had not yet been given for the new-to-the-USA vehicles, but were expected sometime in the first quarter of 2010. Specific dates were not given.

The timing of several elements will have to fall perfectly into place for a February rollout. Details of the Mahindra dealer network throughout the US have yet to be announced or confirmed, US government vehicle approvals are unknown, and marketing has been non-existent. Hopefully it all comes together and we can get some first impressions of the TR pickups early this spring. It’s likely to be a very busy Holiday season for GV-USA.

Sources:,, MahindraTruckBlog, MahindraTruckForum

Special Thanks: Joe Callimachus and Pee Wee at MahindraTruckForum

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What the MUC? The US Gets a Version of the Mahindra Xylo in 2012

If you have explored around the Mahindra North America website, you have probably seen the “Future Vehicle” tab containing a highly stylized image of a vehicle and the tagline stating “MUC Expected US Landing 2012”. No further description is given, so Mahindra Planet will lay down some speculation:

Most likely, the vehicle shown and referred to as MUC is an iteration of the Mahindra Xylo. The Xylo was launched in India in January of 2009. It was originally designed to be a high capacity people mover for domestic and world markets. The design is body-on-frame like the TR20/TR40 and Scorpio SUV. It is currently equipped with a diesel 4-cylinder engine like other Mahindra trucks. For more info on the Xylo click here: Mahindra Xylo Coming to America?

Since the release of the Xylo last winter, the rumor has been that this vehicle will reach US shores in some form. The Xylo was designed from the start with intentions to be a world-market vehicle. It is likely that the MUC is some derivative of the Xylo platform.

Several sketches and renderings of Xylo variations have been circulating the web for quite a while. Interestingly, most have shown some type of pickup truck version. Looking closely at the image on Mahindra’s website, it’s easy to make out the shape of an integrated body/cab pickup version of the Xylo. Kind of a Mahindra version of a Chevrolet Avalanche.

The Xylo platform was designed at birth to handle either Mahindra’s diesel engine or hybrid powertrain. The version coming to the US could very well contain the hybrid system exclusively.

Maybe the most important aspect of the teaser is that Mahindra is looking forward and already planning future product for the US market. This is positive reinforcement of Mahindra’s long term commitment.

Source:, and (lots of good Xylo links and photos)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mahindra Mods: A Scorpio Off-Roader

If you have been following Mahindra Planet or Mahindra’s entry into the US truck market for a while, you have undoubtedly seen pictures of Kishan Lohiya’s heavily reworked Mahindra Scorpio. However, you may not have read any details or seen any photos of the build.

The truck started out as a standard India-market Mahindra Scorpio. After considerable imagination and fabrication, Lohiya created a pretty sweet looking rally-style off-road truck. It doesn’t appear that he has modified the powertrain or suspension in any significant way. Instead he is relying on the stock ruggedness of the Scorpio SUV for off-road use.

The photos here are just a sampling. For more photos and the story of the truck in Lohiya’s own words, hit this link to:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mahindra USA Gets New Assembly Facility

Mahindra USA (i.e. the tractor side of Mahindra’s operations in the US) has announced the consolidation of their Texas operations and the relocation of their assembly and distribution point from Georgia to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

It’s unlikely that this activity has much to do with Mahindra’s light truck operations in the US. However, Mahindra now has a tractor assembly facility available in Georgia, maybe Mahindra truck assembly could fit right in…

The press release may be found: Here

Source: Business Wire

Monday, December 7, 2009

Anand Mahindra Interview: India, The Next Gorilla

Forbes posted a great article with Anand Mahindra last week. Mahindra discusses India’s economic relationship with the United States and how they compare with China.

Mahindra also addresses timing for the US launch of the TR20 and TR40 pickups during our massive economic recession:

“Sometimes the best time is when everyone is advocating against it. The reality is that we're going in with a compact diesel pickup that gives 30 miles per gallon. There's a space in the market for this new, green product. The erstwhile behemoths of the U.S. auto industry are in the midst of restructuring, so there are good dealerships available. There could be no better time for a challenger.”

To read the rest of the excellent article in its entirety follow the link: Here


Friday, December 4, 2009

Crowd Sourced Marketing

I am in no way picking at the scab that is a certain company’s (lack of) marketing effort for a new vehicle that is set for its US debut in February of 2010. I provide this information as a general interest item following the excitement that the 2011 Ford Fiesta has created at the LA Auto Show this week.

If you haven’t seen the Fiesta or caught any of the buzz around the car, do a quick Google search for it. The car may not be your cup of tea, but the launch and excitement created around it are fantastic and worthy of a few moments of your time.

Not only is the pre-launch hype there, but Ford is actively searching out everyday people who are fans of the Fiesta to (gasp!) help market the car for them.

If you go to the Fiesta website, you will see a letter asking for creative people to put together a team of two and brainstorm marketing and advertising ideas. There will be 20 teams selected to operate in specific parts of the country. Each team will be given a new Ford Fiesta with gas and insurance, and will be partnered with local advertising professionals to create their campaign. Oh, and the team gets a chance to win a new Fiesta when all is said and done.

The crowd-sourced advertising campaign is a great idea. Let the customers who are impassioned with the brand do the hard work for you. In fact, give them all of the tools, information, and resources they need to be extremely successful and spread the word.

I wonder what other company could benefit from this type of grass-roots, viral advertising and marketing. It seems to me that there is a particular company who is new to the US and on the verge of a product launch, and could easily organize an effort of this kind. This is a company who could potentially reap tangible rewards for creating some type of advertising campaign in any form. Who could that be???

Thursday, December 3, 2009

VW Amarok: The Mahindra TR Killer?

UPDATE: published a road test of the Amarok yesterday. US availability is highly unlikely. The article with great photos is: Here

As reported by this week, VW is set for the world debut of their163hp/295ft-lb, 2.0 liter, common-rail injected, diesel-powered Amarok compact pickup on December 15th.

Currently there are no plans to introduce the Amarok to the United States. That said, reading the Amarok specs and feature list is like reading the Mahindra TR brochure. This is a heavy duty little diesel pickup with lots of luxury features!

Towing capacity for the Amarok is 5,600 pounds, and max payload is 2,300 pounds. Slightly less than the claimed 2,400-2,700 pound payload that Mahindra is claiming for the TR20 and TR40 pickups.

If VW decides to bring this truck to the US, Mahindra had better be watching their backs.

Photos and Source:

Monday, November 30, 2009

Don’t panic! Indian Domestic Car Prices Rising… USD $430.00

Reported in The Economic Times, Indian car and truck prices will increase by RS 20,000 (~USD $430 today) in the new year due to escalating raw material costs.

As reported on MP last week, it is unclear if the increases in raw material costs will be reflected in the suggested retail prices of US-bound Mahindra TR20 and TR40 pickup trucks. The stagnant Mahindra North America ( website has not officially listed retail pricing structure for the US product range. Pricing is pure speculation at this stage.

It is expected that Mahindra will launch the TR20 and TR40 diesel pickups in February of 2010.

The article with quotes from Pawan Goenka can be found: Here (pop-up warning!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Interesting Speculation: Would Mahindra & Mahindra buy Saab?

In his blog post on this morning, blogger Rohin Nagrani curiously speculates that Mahindra & Mahindra would be the only international player with the ability or desire to swoop in and grab Saab after the Koenigsegg deal fell through yesterday.

Mahindra Planet thinks this is a stretch, since M&M have so much on their plate already, but an interesting take on the Saab deal anyway.

The complete post can be found: Here

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mahindra “Feeling the Pressure” to Increase Vehicle Prices

Pawan Geonka, President of Automotive Sector, Mahindra & Mahindra, has inferred that increases in the cost of raw materials may force an increase in vehicle retail prices in the near future.

An article posted this morning by quotes Goenka:
“We will try and not increase prices in the third quarter, while absorbing increases in the input costs. But if they go up as much as last year, we will have to pass it on to the consumers,”

This news could be yet another hurdle to clear for the US market TR20 and TR40 pickups expected to launch in February of 2010. Since no pricing has officially been set by Mahindra or the US importer, Global Vehicles, it’s not clear how the increase in input costs will trickle down to the Indian-built, US marketed pickup trucks.

Last week, Mahindra Planet posted a chart with completely speculative pricing hierarchy. We took the current Australian market prices, converted them to USD, and then added 25% in order to come up with a completely unscientific estimate of what American buyers might expect to pay for versions of the TR20 and TR40.

The complete article can be found: Here

Friday, November 20, 2009

US Mahindra Pickup Pricing: Clues from Down Under

Speculation continues on Mahindra’s US pricing strategy for the TR20 and TR40 pickups launching in February 2010. An article posted earlier this week on Australia’s The Motor Report announced the introduction of the Pik-Up to the Western Australia market with AUD pricing structure.

The Motor Report article also put together a table including the recommended retail price (plus general sales tax) for various Pik-Up configurations. We’ve taken that table and included the USD conversion. Additionally, we included a column that tacks on 25%. Consider it accounting for the Chicken Tax, shipping, emissions testing, safety testing, or anything else you like. We thought it might appear more representative of actual US sticker prices.

Along with the announcement, the article quotes Mahindra Australia CEO, Claire Tynan on safety improvements made to the Aussie pickups. The comments and improvements appear to be in response to previous ANCAP crash test reports in which the Australian Mahindra pickups didn’t fair so well. As regular readers may recall, a YouTube video of the test was removed shortly after a Mahindra Planet posted a link to it. From the description in the article, the Australian pickups now appear to have all of the same safety equipment as US versions will get in February.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mahindra Expects Final EPA and NHTSA Approval in First Quarter 2010

The Press of Atlantic City reports this morning in an interview with Global Vehicles Spokesman, Mike Geylin, that Mahindra pickups are being reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration. Global Vehicles expects the TR20 and TR40 pickups to get final approval from both agencies in the first quarter of 2010.

The article also interviews future Mahindra truck dealer, Bill Kassner, owner of Chapman Ford. Chapman is currently expanding one of their dealerships to accommodate the brand. Mahindra vehicles will be featured at their Egg Harbor Township location, and possibly others.

You will find the complete article: Here


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mahindra-Satyam to Strengthen Mahindra & Mahindra US Vehicle Efforts

Mahindra’s recently acquired engineering services department, Mahindra-Satyam (formerly Satyam Computer Services) could begin servicing the Mahindra automotive arm and assist in the launch of US market-specific vehicles.

An article posted today in India’s The Financial Express, discusses possible benefits to Mahindra-Satyam working for Mahindra & Mahindra and utilizing their expertise in many areas including IP (intellectual property) management, electronics, and design cycle efficiency.

Currently, Mahindra-Satyam is not employed by M&M even though they are branches of the same tree. It seems to only make sense that eventually there will be a relationship between the two enterprises in their effort to become a major player in the world automotive market.

The full article can be found: Here

Source: The Financial Express

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mahindra: Exploring All Options to Manufacture Pickup Trucks in the US

A Wall Street Journal interview posted Friday morning with Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Anand Mahindra indicates that Mahindra is actively seeking options to build Mahindra vehicles in the United States.

Mahindra states that he is aware of the “great amount of capability and capacity available” to manufacture vehicles in the US. Mahindra goes on the explain that there are no firm plans yet, but options include buying or leasing an existing plant, or building a new facility. He also states that Mahindra does not plan to enter a joint venture for US expansion, quelling any rumors of partnering with Navistar/International or other manufacturers for production on US soil.

The interview also discusses Mahindra's burgeoning tractor sales in China and Africa despite the global economic downturn, and how US and European sales have begun to stabilize. The article in its entirety can be found: Here

Source: WSJ

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

US Will be Denied Next Generation “Global” Ford Ranger

Ford announced this week that the US will not get a version of the next generation Ranger compact pickup. Reaffirming our last post that domestic truck manufacturers effectively don’t believe there is demand for compact diesel pickups in the United States.

A real shame, as the Australian-developed ‘T6’ Ranger appeared to be a great package for stateside compact truck buyers. As reported by back in May, the 2012 Ranger might’ve been powered by Ford’s 175 HP, 1.6 liter, direct injection, EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine.

On the up side, rumors are circulating that a mid-sized Ford F-100 pickup with a width similar to that of the current F-150, but with a significantly shorter wheelbase may become the current Ranger replacement.

Powertrain options galore may be speculated upon if the F-100 were to come to fruition. However, we feel it would be a shame if they didn’t offer at least one diesel option.

For further reading on the F-100, also check out these articles: Here

Via: All Cars All the Time and
Rendering: F-100 by Mark Stehrenberger and Lifted from

Friday, October 30, 2009

Diesel Demand: Why is Mahindra Alone in Introducing a Mid-size Diesel Pickup to America?

While Mahindra is establishing itself as a clean diesel and diesel/hybrid niche-brand in the United States, domestic manufacturers have no known plans to introduce competitive vehicles in response.

Emissions compliance, development costs, and consumer demand are the main reasons other manufacturers are not developing their own diesel-powered small trucks. Of course these are completely valid reasons. So, how about some Q&A…

Q: Why are small, diesel-powered vehicles so difficult to introduce to the United States?

A: Blame it on California.

The land of CARB and The Governator imposes the harshest emissions requirements on diesel engines in the country. Selling any vehicle in the US is dictated by the ability to sell it in California. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

California’s Tier 2, Bin 5 emissions requirement for particulates (soot) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) are extremely strict. The requirement forces US-bound, passenger car diesels to be very clean. The T2B5 requirement closely mimics European EU5 and EU6 standards. AutoblogGreen has a great article with a graph that explains the standard here: Why can’t Americans have good, small diesels?

Q: Why do automakers expect consumers to pay a premium for small diesel engines in cars, SUV’s and compact light trucks in the US?

A: Price point is reflected by cost.

For a domestic manufacturer, the claimed cost per vehicle for a T2B5 compliant diesel over an equivalent gasoline burning vehicle is $2000 to $5000.

VW is the exception. VW has their TDI diesel firmly planted in its small sedan platform. With a base price of just $1300 over the base price of a gasoline-burning Jetta, the TDI version is an interesting option. Economies of scale are in effect here. VW builds a lot of TDI engines. An engine well regarded for good power and exceptional fuel economy. Maybe one day they will put it in one of their SUV’s sold here, but a compact pickup truck does not appear to be on the horizon.

Q: Why won’t domestic small truck makers develop a small pickup with a compact diesel engine despite the costs?

A: Chicken.

Emissions and cost both come into play here. Manufacturers will claim that the demand doesn’t justify the development of a compact diesel powertrain. The additional cost will then be passed on to consumers, whom they feel won’t want to pay a premium for the technology. Understandably, there is more to converting a current production pickup to diesel. The heat from a diesel engine must be mitigated and room for post-combustion emissions treatment must be made in addition to many other design considerations. This would force a significant redesign of current product or a new truck entirely. However, we would like to see the hard research data on actual demand.

If GM, Ford, and Chrysler were smart (they aren’t), they might put aside corporate pride and jointly develop a shared small diesel engine to put in their own small pickups. Or they could contract the design to a diesel specialist (International, Cummins, Cat, Daimler, etc.). Even more simply, they could revive the GM compact V-8 diesel that was nearly ready for launch before the plug got pulled earlier this year. Maybe they are just scared.

This is their loss. Mahindra is entering the mid-size truck market with their 4-cylinder, 2.2 liter, intercooled, common rail diesel. Mahindra gets to be the pioneer… or the guinea pig, depending on how you look at it.

Small Diesel Future

Certainly other manufacturers will monitor Mahindra’s success or failure in the coming year. Demand for the unusual truck from an unfamiliar source will be the litmus test for others looking to stick a toe in the diesel-powered, small truck waters.

If demand for small, diesel trucks overcomes any consumer hesitation about buying an unproven, Indian-made vehicle with uh… unique aesthetics, maybe a market does exist. Mahindra is poised to show North American consumers that diesel pickups aren’t the big, loud, stinky, and black smoke spewing, trucks and buses they dread getting stuck behind in traffic.

Mahindra will have the edge by being the first to the market, but surely others will follow suit and create a healthy level of competition (if things go to Mahindra's plan). And just maybe, Mahindra becomes the brand that makes diesels in the US a truly viable and readily available option. Time will tell.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Officially Official: Mahindra Begins Using TR20 and TR40 Naming Convention!

Checking out the Mahindra NA/Global Vehicles website this afternoon reveals a nice specification sheet including a nice Features list and the latest Specifications.

Here is the link: Mahindra TR20/TR40 Sales Brochure

What may be most significant is that this is the first official document from Mahindra specifically calling the trucks by their newly trademarked TR20 and TR40 designations.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Speculation: Will Mahindra Forego an Early 2010 Launch in Favor of a Delayed All-New Pickup?

Poll Results
The Mahindra truck arrival date poll has closed, and it looks like nearly half of the voters are figuring on a delay for the official US launch.

News is sparse but anticipation is still high for the TR20 and TR40 pickups in the US. Mahindra vehicles are a polarizing topic across the internet. The overwhelming theme of forum and comment dialog is: Who will buy these trucks? Most people are either completely committed to them, or think they are the worst thing on four wheels.

An All-New Pickup?
MahindraPlanet wonders if Mahindra is having second thoughts about introducing the current generation TR20/TR40 in the US as an “Americanized” version of the global market truck.

As we mentioned back in February, Mahindra does not plan to bring the current generation Scorpio SUV (same chassis as the TR pickups) to the United States. Instead, an all-new Mahindra SUV will arrive sometime in 2010. If the next generation SUV sits on an all-new chassis, and if the pickup were to continue to share a chassis with the SUV… does it not make sense to bring over (or build here) a new pickup and SUV with significant parts interchangeability and manufacturing commonality?

A clean sheet design could easily address safety, NVH, fit and finish, emissions, or other issues associated with bringing the current pickup into the US market.

On the other hand, the new SUV may be designed as a purpose built vehicle for the SUV market (i.e. a lighter duty chassis with a non-leaf sprung rear suspension design). Additionally, we’ve all seen the spy photos of the current TR40 on US soil.

Of course this is ALL speculation, but at the moment speculation is all we have. Stay tuned, and look for a new poll next week!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mahindra TR40 Crash Test Video

UPDATE: The Mahindra Crash Test video has been pulled from YouTube. The ANCAP crash test results links in this post are still valid. You can see a still image of the crash test on the ANCAP website. You can still find many other good Mahindra truck videos by searching on YouTube. Thanks, Hughlysses.

So, how does the Mahindra TR40 fare in a frontal offset crash test? According to this YouTube video and the attached description, not so well.

While this is obviously an Australian market Mahindra Pik-Up, it still gives us some idea how the 4WD truck will handle a collision sans airbags.

There is no indication of actual test speed other than the cryptic note which specifies: Acceleration 69.4-40.7. A quick conversion of kph to mph indicates that 69.4kph translates to 43.1mph and the test requires 64kph (40mph).

The video is from ANCAP (AustrailAsian New Car Assessment Program) and the test was published in 2008. The Mahindra TR40 received 2 stars out of 5, and 3.44 points out of 16 overall. Steering column, footwell, and pedal intrusion were significant. Click this link to read the Frontal Offset Test Criteria: ANCAP. Click this link to view the entire Vehicle Crash Report.

This does not mean that the US versions will be better or worse, but it is interesting to see how it holds up in its current market. Bare in mind that US versions will also be equipped with crash avoidance equipment like ABS and stability control, and the added safety of airbags. What is your opinion?

Thanks to @Samuel_Mumbai via Twitter

Thursday, September 24, 2009

2010 Mahindra TR20 Preliminary Specification

Via Mahindra’s latest press kit (dated August 2009) is the “Two Door Pickup Truck” preliminary specification. Little has changed with the spec. However, it is interesting that Mahindra US still does not call either truck by the TR designation in this specification or on the official website.

Photos released on the Mahindra website all show the Australian-market ‘Pik Up’ designation on the tailgate (along with the old 2.5CRDe engine callout). Has Mahindra changed their mind about using TR?

Click on the specification below for a larger view.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Newsday

Mahindra News:

Mahindra has officially released high quality photos of the TR20 and TR40. The photos still have the “PikUp” badges on them, but these are what the US trucks will look like.
Click the link below, then go to ‘Vehicles’, then click on ‘Photos’.
Mahindra NA

Check out the spy photos posted yesterday. Mike Levine is on top of it. More importantly, check out all the comments. Will style win out over utility come February?

Finally! A Mahindra truck forum has landed on the scene. Andy has created a nice place to kick your feet up, crack open your beverage of choice, and discuss all things Mahindra trucks.

Non-Mahindra News:
Indian electric car manufacturer, REVA, may build a facility in Upstate New York to manufacture their NXR and NXG plug-in electric cars.
REVA to Syracuse

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mahindra Committed to Ultra-Competitive US Pickup Truck Market

MahindraPlanet has been continuing a dialogue with Global Vehicles USA’s Mike Geylin over the last two weeks. We’ll summarize all that has transpired:

MahindraPlanet posted our Open Letter to Mahindra on September 8th. The letter addressed concerns gathered from readers of this blog, and general commentary from around the net. The intent was to offer constructive criticism and solicit a response from Mahindra which we did receive.

As noted by our comment contributors (thanks joecallimachus and Anonymous) the GV/Mahindra website and contact email address had some issues. This was confirmed by Geylin:

“I understand yours and some of the correspondents’ frustration over
non-responses and I apologize. There was an issue on our end with emails going
to we have addressed this issue.”
Delays have plagued the Mahindra pickup launch. With my personal experience in heavy truck and bus OEMs and Tier 1 automotive engineering, I can relate to vehicle launch issues. All of my experience was with domestic product and companies with established history and infrastructure in the North American market. Trust me, it is difficult to launch a new vehicle domestically, I can’t imagine the logistic challenges Mahindra is facing. No specifics were discussed, but it is clear that GV and Mahindra want their trucks to be the best possible product they can put in front of US consumers.

“As for the delays – these are quite normal with an introduction like ours. Much
more important to all parties involved – dealers, Global Vehicles, Mahindra
& Mahindra as well prospective customers – is getting the pickup truck
RIGHT, not meeting an “artificial” on-sale date. The United States is the most
sophisticated and competitive pickup-truck market, so the challenges for getting
things right looms large. Our and M&M’s aim is to do just that.”

MahindraPlanet will continue to bring you news as it comes our way. Have an opinion on the delays or any other aspect of Mahindra in North America? Make sure you vote on our launch date poll in the upper right corner, or post a comment. As always, please leave your comments, suggestions, questions, or complete flame-jobs on our posts or send them via email. If you have a tip, story idea, or would like to contribute to MahindraPlanet, please contact us:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Mahindra Response and Some New Photos

There has been a lot of response to our previous post containing the open letter to Mahindra. As a brief follow up to that post, we will say this: Mahindra/Global Vehicles USA is watching the web and they are very concerned about public perception of their actions and their vehicles. More later…

In the mean time, we have ‘happened upon’ some new photos of the TR20, TR40, and Scorpio facelift. These are not photos of the US versions, but it still gives us a “preview of coming attractions” so to speak.
We have also learned that the hood scoop which we negatively commented on in the past is actually a functional design element. Apparently the intercooler will be top-mounted (Subaru-style) in the engine compartment. Knowing that it has a purpose is a palate cleanser. We like functional design!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Summer of Discontent: An Open Letter to Mahindra and Global Vehicles

Several individuals have emailed us or left comments in past couple of weeks. First of all, we want to thank you for the great comments and support! However, it seems that many readers are very skeptical about Mahindra vehicles ever actually making it to US shores and we want to address this concern.

First off, we want to be completely transparent: is a fan and news blog about Mahindra trucks. MahindraPlanet is NOT affiliated with Mahindra U.S.A, Inc., Mahindra & Mahindra Limited, or Global Vehicles U.S.A., Inc. The only vested interest we have is to satisfy our own personal fascination with Mahindra trucks and news about Mahindra in North America. We also hope that readers will support our advertisers and in turn, support the blog financially.

Secondly, we have our own reservations as well. Global Vehicles (GV) is the face of Mahindra on-road vehicles in the US. Global Vehicles is not responsive to requests from MahindraPlanet, or from individuals who have also contacted them directly. A bit baffling, since we would expect that GV and Mahindra would love to promote the brand and get information out there to build anticipation for Mahindra pickups and SUVs.

Mahindra Marketing
Mahindra has been very specific about creating a grassroots level advertising campaign for the TR20, TR40, and subsequent models. MahindraPlanet feels that this blog, other news sites, and great forums (like and are a huge asset to the promotion of Mahindra in the US and abroad. We are very curious as to why GV and Mahindra do not seem to utilize this media.

It is our opinion that Mahindra & Mahindra is very serious about entering the US vehicle market. They have clearly stated that they see the US becoming their top export market. Mahindra has also taken the time to submit a vehicle to JD Powers and Associates for feedback, to ensure a successful launch. We believe this dedication to providing a quality product is partially to blame for launch delays.

It is also our opinion that several dealers are very excited about the Mahindra product. MahindraNC and Mississippi Mahindra are clearly active in their early marketing efforts and maintain current websites with news, blogs, and information.

We have no doubt that Mahindra and the US dealer network are onboard. However, our reservations lie with Global Vehicles. News is slow and they are silent. We wonder why they aren’t clearly promoting Mahindra trucks, delays or not. We still don’t even know if TR20 and TR40 are actually the official names for these pickups. It seems that Mahindra is relying on GV (as importer and marketer) to be the voice of Mahindra trucks in the US, but they aren’t speaking.

Open Letter to Mahindra and Global Vehicles
In an internet age when secrets are hard to keep, Mahindra (through GV) seems to hold onto a lot of details that people really want to know (dealers, performance, pricing, etc.). The latest news suggests that the official launch will be in February of 2010. That’s only six months away. It seems to us that this is a great time to build some buzz for the brand. No Facebook, no MySpace, no Twitter… why?

Mahindra and Global Vehicles, if you are listening, understand that you have a lot of fans. Many of whom are already sold on Mahindra trucks. But please also understand that we are hungry for more information. Understand that if you treat us like part of the family, you will build brand loyalty before the first tire touches the road. If you remain a stoic and faceless entity, you will lose customers before you even have a product to sell. This is Web 2.0 Marketing 101, just look at what Mahindra USA does with their website.

MahindraPlanet encourages Mahindra, GV USA, and US dealers to engage this blog. MahindraPlanet also encourages Mahindra to engage other news sites and forums. Ask for our opinions (we do want manual transmissions!). Speak to us on a personal level and listen to us when we ask questions or make suggestions.

Mahindra, we hope you are listening.

Monday, August 31, 2009 Mahindra Test Drive on US Soil!

Late last week,’s Mike Levine posted great article describing their test drive of non-US versions of the Mahindra TR20 and Mahindra Scorpio SUV. Again, these aren’t the exact trucks the US will be getting, but are close enough for a decent evaluation.

“What we found was that parts of the trucks managed to only live up to our low
expectations, but we also came away impressed -- no, stunned really -- by how
well the trucks are setup in certain areas.”

The article contains no hard performance data, just a seat of the pants evaluation. Levine does praise the pickup’s handling and ride, but gives the truck demerits for poor interior quality, fit, and finish. The Scorpio did not have the larger 2.5 liter mHawk diesel, but did have the US version 6-speed automatic mated to the 2.2 liter mHawk. The automatic did receive high praise for shifting well, and not hunting gears (as many 5 and 6 speed automatics tend to do in truck applications).

“Overall, we’re impressed with Mahindra’s four-cylinder diesel pickup truck –
much more so than before we drove it. The interior has glaring weaknesses but if
this truck can live up to Global Vehicle’s marketing hype of up to 30 mpg,
1.3-tons of payload and 5,000 pounds of towing ability, Mahindra and Global
Vehicles will have a pickup truck like no other to sell to U.S. truck buyers.
They’ll effectively be competing in a segment of one and in cases where a heavy
duty diesel is overkill for the application, we think they’ll be an excellent
alternative to help out on a farm or construction site.”

Overall, Levine seemed satisfied with his time in both trucks. Now we just have to wait until the US versions are on the streets and ready for a thorough shakedown!

For the complete article: Taj Mahauler

Photo: via

Friday, August 28, 2009

Good News: Mahindra Resumes Search for US Pickup and SUV Manufacturing Plant

A Tweet from @PickupTrucks ( early this morning alerted MahindraPlanet to news that Pravin Shah, executive vice president of international operations for Mahindra & Mahindra, told journalists in India that Mahindra is considering purchasing a manufacturing facility in the United States for vehicles based on the Scorpio platform. The Scorpio platform is the chassis that the TR20, TR40, and Mahindra Scorpio SUV are all based on.

Mahindra’s original plan for the TR20 and TR40 pickup was to manufacture parts and sub-assemblies in India, then complete final assembly on US soil. In February, those plans were then scrapped for unknown reasons. Shah’s recent comments make a clear statement that Mahindra intends for the United States to be their largest export market, and Mahindra wishes to manufacture product for the US market, in the US market.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Mahindra Hy-Alfa Mini-Truck: Hydrogen Power to the People?

So, it’s not news on the US-bound TR20 or TR40 pickups, but it does show some of the alternative thinking that Mahindra engages in.

The Mahindra Hy-Alfa is an inner-city utility vehicle. These vehicles are commonly seen in the densely populated metropolis of Asian countries. The vehicles allow the operator to carry a decent amount of whatever they are transporting, yet still effectively negotiate traffic-jammed streets with relative ease. What sets the Hy-Alfa apart from the congested masses is that it’s fueled by Hydrogen.

H2 may not be the most practical (or even safest) fueling solution around, but the intent to create a carbon-free urban transporter is there. The point to be gathered here is that Mahindra is trying to stand out as an innovator in alternatively fueled vehicles.

Read the press release on Autoblog Green: Mahindra Hy-Alfa

Photo: AutoblogGreen

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Officially Official: No US Mahindra Pickups Until 2010

Scooped by The Auto Writer this morning, Mahindra North America’s importer, Global Vehicles USA, Inc., has stated that no Mahindra TR20 0r TR40 pickups will be available to US customers in 2009.

Global Vehicles is claiming that product tweaking is the reason for the delay. It’s been well documented in the past that Mahindra contracted JD Powers and Associates to conduct initial evaluations of the pickup to ensure a high level of quality for the US market product.

Global Vehicles also mentions that cosmetic changes are part of the delay. As we’ve already seen, Mahindra unveiled the cosmetically revised Australian market PikUp last month. This leaves MahindraPlanet to speculate: What are the specific items causing the delay?

This is a bummer for many people have either reserved a Mahindra TR at their local dealer, or have been highly anticipating their test drive via the Mahindra NA website. Maybe more significantly, this is a blow to the dealers who are heavily committed to making Mahindra’s US launch a huge success.

The pressure is on Mahindra to ensure that after many delays, the TR20 and TR40 pickups do not disappoint when they finally launch.

For the full story visit: The Auto Writer

Monday, August 3, 2009

US Mahindra TR Pickup Available in February 2010

In an unaccredited post, MahindraNC’s fine blog reaffirms previous statements made by John Perez, CEO of GV USA (Mahindra’s US importer) that Mahindra trucks will be “delivered to dealers in calendar year 2009”, but full-scale US sales will commence in the 1st quarter of 2010.

The MahindraNC post quotes Mahindra & Mahindra Automotive Sector President, Pawan Goenka, as saying “We will start production of Mahindra ‘Pik-up’ utility vehicle by December this year for the US, and by end-February next year, the vehicle will be sold there (in the US).”

Delays of the Mahindra US launch have been well documented in the automotive media. Understandably so, given the current global economic crisis, and general difficulty in bringing any new vehicle into the United States. It is also likely that Mahindra wants to ensure that the US-bound vehicles will meet the expectations of US customers who will require a high level of quality right from the start.

Source: MahindraNC Blog

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mahindra Pickups: Likely to Arrive in US with Improved Appearance

Late last week Mahindra unveiled the updated Mahindra PikUp for the Australian market. This “facelift” of the current model means the exterior styling remains unchanged with the exception of adding an updated hood, grill, bumper, and headlights from the recently unveiled and updated Indian Market Scorpio.

The front end restyle definitely adds a hint of modernization to the PikUp. According to Global Vehicles, USA spokesman, Mike Geylin, what we see here is very close to the face of Mahindra pickups that US customers will be seeing when the TR20 and TR40 are launched this fall.

MahindraPlanet is glad to see the more aggressive and slightly more angular look for the TR. The slots in the grill have been squared off at the corners and a pronounced Mahindra symbol sits atop a projected arch on the center slot. It’s noted that the TR retains seven vertical slots in the grill which we assume remains to pay homage to Mahindra’s long-time Jeep connection.

We’re not fans of goofy fake hood scoops, but we think the modern headlamps and more integrated looking bumper help to offset that minor styling faux pas.

The golden nugget of the facelift appears to be a very well done interior. Aside from the steering wheel on the wrong side (and manual transmission, unfortunately), we hope that the interior arrives in the US as seen in the photos.

The seats look reasonably shaped for proper comfort and support. The fit and finish look great (in the photo model at least) and the shapes, colors, and textures generally look as good as most trucks available in the US.

To read the full article, hit this link: Aussie PikUp Update

Photos: via

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mahindra & Mahindra: Cruising the Indian Cityscape in the Scorpio SUV

New York Times Editor, Nick Kurczewski, travled to Mumbai for a drive in the domestic version of the Mahindra Scorpio SUV. The article was posted on the Mahindra North America official website a few weeks ago, but it’s worth a look if you haven’t seen it before.

Kurczewski relays his experience on how the Scorpio worked around the streets of India’s densely populated capital city. He also speaks with Global Vehicles (the official US importer) John Perez and gets some insight into Mahindra’s thoughts on the US market and how they are positioning themselves with their unique vehicles to create a niche and prosper in a global economic downturn.

The article is light on an actual performance evaluation, but it’s a nice piece on Mahindra and the potential of the brand in the US. Obviously, MahindraPlanet thinks there is a place for a heavy duty small truck that gets 30mpg. We are eagerly awaiting our TR test drive on US soil!

NYT article link: Mahindra Says Wait and See

Photo: via New York Times

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mahindra Truck Dealers: New Listing of North American Mahindra Truck Dealerships on MahindraPlanet!

We’ve added a new list of known (or unconfirmed) dealers who will be carrying Mahindra pickups (TR20 and TR40) and SUV’s (Scorpio) in North America entitled, The MahindraPlanet Dealer Directory. You can find a permanent link to this list at the top right corner of the side bar.

DFW Mahindra has had a very strong web presence for quite a while now. They are the only dealer we’ve found that has a dedicated website so far. Acton does have a ‘Coming Soon’ button for their Mahindra enterprise.

If you know of a dealer who will be carrying Mahindra pickups and SUV’s when they become available this fall, please contact MahindraPlanet and send us a link to their website or comment on this post.

If you are one of the 300+ known Mahindra dealers in the US, please also send us information on your dealership and a link to your website.

MahindraPlanet receives over 3000 unique visitors each month with 90% of that traffic coming from the United States. Utilize our SEO to promote your dealership for free!

MahindraPlanet gets bigger and drives more new traffic every month. We are continually improving the site and will be switching to an improved format in the near future. Now is a perfect time to start generating your web presence!

Contact MahindraPlanet via:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

MahindraPlanet is now on Twitter!

Follow us on Twitter for updates on Mahindra’s North American launch and other Mahindra truck related news and information from around the world!

Twitter link:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mahindra Truck News: Mahindra Planet

As our loyal readers know, Mahindra Planet keeps you abreast of all happenings regarding the arrival of Mahindra pickups in North America. The models tentatively known as TR20 (2-door pickup) and TR40 (4-door pickup) are due to hit US shores in late 2009 and early 2010. Plenty of people across the US are chomping at the bit to get their first test drive in the new trucks as soon as they become available.

Mahindra Planet will be switching gears as the summer progresses. Visitors to the site can expect to see a new and more user friendly layout. We hope to create more of a magazine atmosphere, but most importantly we hope to be more engaging and encourage further interaction with and between readers. Please comment and contribute to the site, all are welcome!

As we change things up a bit, we’ll try to see what works and what doesn’t. We want this site to be a place where fans of the Mahindra brand can share in their excitement and find some useful information. We want our readers to define the site and make it a cool and comfortable spot on the web.

This is an open invitation to all readers throughout the world: We would like your comments, story ideas, articles for publishing, tips, and even sketches or renderings of Mahindra related vehicles that you think are cool or other people might be interested in. Full credit will be given to all contributors; it’s your chance to populate the Mahindra Planet!

Also note that Mahindra Planet is now on Twitter. Look for @MahindraPlanet. We'll include a link from here soon.

Please comment directly to articles we’ve posted, and please feel free to contact us directly via email:


Friday, May 29, 2009

Mahindra TR20 Aruval Concept Pickup!

The Mahindra TR20 Aruval Concept (click image for full size view) shows what the soon-to-be-released Mahindra pickup trucks might look like with some minor cosmetic changes and a bit of suspension tuning.

Okay, news of the Mahindra TR20 and TR40 US launch has been a very slow trickle lately. So we decided to do a quick and cheesy, pencil-whipping of the TR20 design to get an idea of how a potential Mahindra tuner might work-over the basic design.

About the TR20 Aruval Concept:
We’ve started with a standard 2-wheel drive TR20 and took the liberty of shaving the drip rail, and removing the tie down cleats from the bed sides to make the design a little more current. These are the only modifications done to the body. All standard body lines remain intact. A rear view was chosen for the sake of sketching simplicity…

The TR20 Aruval has been lowered significantly versus the stock TR20. The bland original equipment wheels have been replaced with a simple six-spoke design that gives the truck a more modern feel. The stock wheels have a massive positive offset, so additional rim width has been added inboard. The intention was to make the wheel appear as a stock replacement and not do anything too outrageous (like adding negative offset). To scale, this would be a 20 inch wheel with a 10 inch rim width.

Other changes include removal of the rear bumper and the addition of a diffuser-style roll pan. The bars in the cab side windows have been removed, and sportier side view mirrors have replaced the awkward stock ones.

Under the hood is a bit of a mystery. We’re hoping that diesel tuning companies like Banks or Bully Dog will take a risk and at least put out some ECU controllers, cold air intakes, and exhaust systems for these trucks.

As for the Aruval name, we wanted something that would sound aggressive and also pay respect to the truck’s Indian origin. An Aruval is an Indian blade that is used as more of a tool than a weapon. We thought this was appropriate for the Mahindra pickup as the truck is all about effective utility.

Yes, this is a quick sketch without a lot of detail. Maybe one of our readers with some PhotoShop or rendering expertise will step up and submit their idea of an Americanized Mahindra pickup. We will welcome any submissions and we will ensure that the artist is credited for his/her work. So take this as an open invitation to submit your own ideas (would be nice to see some off-road versions). Please comment and make suggestions or submissions.

Source: MahindraPlanet

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Non-Mahindra News, but very cool: Bruce Meyers/Denmat Cars Unveil the Kick Out SS

Not to worry, MahindraPlanet is working on new articles and details of the TR20 Aruval Concept Truck are coming soon. Stay tuned…

Top Photo:
Rear view of the very first Meyers Manx Kick Out SS launched at Carlisle last weekend.

Bottom Photo:
Rolling chassis of the very first Meyers Manx Kick Out SS launched at Carlisle last weekend. The engine is an air-cooled VW opposed 4-cylinder. Note: Standard Meyers Manx Kick Out in the back of Bruce Meyers truck. Shows how compact the Kick Out is!

Source: Denmat Cars

Friday, May 8, 2009

Non-Mahindra News: Meyers Manx Kick-Out SS by Denmat Cars

Updates on the launch of Mahindra pickups in the US are a little slow lately. However, Mahindra Planet is working on some interesting projects for the near future so stay tuned…

A different subject for today: For those who don’t know, Bruce Meyers designed and built the first true lightweight dune buggy in the late 1960’s. Meyers Manx was the name of this first car, and it single-handedly popularized the off-road recreation industry in the United States. The Meyers Manx brought speed and high performance to the off-road scene that had previously been dominated by surplus military Jeeps or motorcycles. Meyers Manx dune buggies and countless copies became an icon of 70’s car culture.

The car in the photo above is a Meyers Manxter 2+2 TurboSurfer built by Denmat Cars ( of Forestdale, Massachusetts, USA. The Manxter is the ultimate evolution of Bruce Meyers’ 40 year-old design. Outfitted with a modern Subaru WRX engine, the car has a power to weight ratio that rivals modern supercars and achieves 0-60 mph under 4 seconds!

Denmat Cars is a good friend of Mahindra Planet, and by far the finest source and assembler for Meyers Manx. Denmat Cars is renowned for their engineering, quality, and meticulous attention to detail. Denmat Cars and Bruce Meyers himself will unveil the latest Meyers Manx model, the Kick-Out SS, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania for the Carlisle Import/Kit-Replicar Nationals on May 15-17, 2009.

If you are a fan of US car culture, or off-road racing history, you need to check out Denmat Cars and Meyers Manx. Even better, get yourself to Carlisle next weekend to meet Bruce Meyers and John Denmat, and check out the new Kick-Out SS!

Source: Denmat Cars

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Xlyo Pickup?

This is an interesting concept drawing by Indian designer Shoeb Kalania of SRK Design. He’s taken the people-mover Mahindra Xylo and crafted a pickup out of it: ala Subaru Baja.

It’s certain that the Xylo would never make it to the US market, but Kalania’s Xylo Adventure is still an interesting concept and it shows the potential in another of Mahindra’s vehicles.

Source: IndiaAutosBlog