Friday, October 22, 2010

Mahindra Delay Excuses Don't Set Well With Importer

Mahindra importer, Global Vehicles USA (GV), has quickly responded to Mahindra’s statements that the US launch of their India-built line of compact diesel pickup trucks has been delayed indefinitely due to ongoing conflict with the Georgia-based company.

“Mahindra is legally – and morally – obligated to conduct business as usual” – John Perez, CEO, Global Vehicles

Perez refers to an arbitration clause which was part of the original contract between Global Vehicles and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd to establish GV as the exclusive distributor of Mahindra vehicles in the United States. The contract between the two parties expired on June 11, 2010. On that same day, GV invoked an arbitration clause placed in the distributor agreement. That clause requires both companies to conduct ‘business as usual’ in order to fulfill their commitment in supplying Mahindra pickups to nearly 350 dealers which have been waiting over 2 years for products to sell.

While engaged in a federal lawsuit filed against them by GV and the binding arbitration process being conducted in the UK, Mahindra continues to publicly dismiss GV as exclusive distributor of their vehicles, and now are blaming further delays on these actions.

"Any suggestion that the arbitration process or the federal lawsuit we were forced to file to protect our rights are responsible for the delay in bringing trucks to the United States is patently not true. If Mahindra's trucks are ready to sell, they should continue performing their obligations under the distributor agreement just like we have. If dealers start to doubt Mahindra's integrity, they don't stand a chance of earning the trust of American consumers." – John Perez

Source: Global Vehicles via PRNewsWire

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mahindra v. Tata: What Statement Does the Donation Battle Make?

Has anyone been following the charitable donation battle between Anand Mahindra and Ratan Tata? In a nutshell, Mahindra donated USD $10 million to Harvard a couple of weeks ago to secure the re-naming of a humanities center to The Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard. To up the ante, Ratan Tata (Mahindra’s biggest Indian automotive rival and owner of Jaguar and Land Rover) recently donated USD $50 million to the Harvard Business School for a new building to be named Tata Hall.

It’s understandable that both of these incredibly successful Indian businessmen want to give back to their Alma Mater (and satisfy their equally incredible egos), but it also stirs controversy in India. Just when you think the divide between the haves and the have-nots in America is getting bigger every day; we’ve got nothing on India. So, what’s to be gained by donating millions of dollars to a foreign university (that isn’t exactly cash-strapped to begin with) while millions of your fellow countrymen live in utter poverty?

Is it all about image? Do these charitable acts give credence to those who have suspected all along that Mahindra (and possibly Tata) only wants to sell vehicles in the US to gloat about the achievement and fluff up their status as an Indian international success story just to sell more cars at home?

It’s my sincere hope that both of these men make far more charitable contributions to those in need than these very public donations to a wealthy American institution portray. I personally believe there is a bigger statement to be made by taking a more stealthy approach to giving, but hey, the Salvation Army probably isn’t going to let me re-name one of their second-hand stores no matter how many lightly used slacks I donate. Personal satisfaction, warm feelings, and good karma be damned, they should at least paint my name on the side of a Red Kettle come Christmas time. Anonymous gifting is so overrated.

So are these multi-million dollar Harvard donations simply a good deed, or just good business?

Sources: Stuff Rich People Love, The Wall Street Journal, All Headline News

Monday, October 18, 2010

December Mahindra Launch Date Is Now “No Date” is reporting this morning via AP reports that Mahindra is no longer stating that a thrice delayed US launch date of December 2010 is expected for their India-made small diesel pickup trucks.

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd’s vice chairman and managing director, Anand Mahindra, told an interviewer that “we’re still interested in getting into the US”. However, he went on to say that “we don’t want to turn this into a war of words” regarding a very public legal and PR battle over distribution of the pickups with US importer Global Vehicles USA (GV).

GV has maintained that they intend to move forward with introducing and launching the vehicles in US despite Mahindra’s continued statements that they have terminated their contract with GV and no longer regard them as a business partner. GV went so far as to officially place an order for $35 million of TR20 and TR40 pickups with Mahindra on September 24th only to have it rejected a few days later.

The Mahindra soap opera continues.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Revisited: US Mahindra Road Tests

As the Global Vehicles versus Mahindra battle for control of the distribution of Mahindra TR20 and TR40 diesel pickups continues behind closed doors (it’s been a whole week since the last press release salvo), one begins to wonder what the fuss is all about.

Very little is still known about the actual US versions of the India-made Mahindra pickups. We do know that they will base at around USD $22,000, get around 30mpg with a 4-cylinder diesel engine, and carry over one ton of payload. What’s still missing is a genuine US driving impression on American roads in the hands of American drivers.

Fortunately, journalist, Mike Levine, and Motorcars Mahindra dealer Jay Keffer have both driven non-US export versions of the trucks on US soil. Although neither impression is a true reflection of the trucks we will be driving (some day), both drivers came away more impressed with the trucks than even they thought they would… Mahindra Test Drive on US Soil!
US Mahindra Test Drive Interview, Part I: First Impressions
US Mahindra Test Drive Interview, Part II: Power, Style, and a Great Offer