Thursday, June 30, 2011

Fear and Loathing in Alpharetta

That deafening silence you hear is the sound of Mahindra and Global Vehicles making preparations for their upcoming arbitration in August.  The fate of some 350 franchised Mahindra dealers and the presence of Mahindra trucks in the US hang in the balance.  Maybe no news is good news, but then again, maybe some of the enthusiasm built up over the last 4 years has finally begun to fade.

Even a diehard Mahindrista has to admit that the chance of seeing Mahindra pickups on US roads in the near future is slim.  Publicly, Mahindra only speaks of their Ssangyong product line making it to America.  As time rolls on, more manufacturers appear to be closing in on the niche Mahindra intended to own just a few years ago.  Ford’s EcoBoost F-150, the global Chevy Colorado, Nissan’s development partnership with Cummins, a new compact Ram pickup, and continued talk of a Jeep pickup all begin to overlap the mid-size, high capacity, fuel-efficient, diesel pickup concept Mahindra has touted but failed to deliver.

Maybe Mahindra could change their angle of attack, and bring in a truly bare-bones, bargain-basement heavy duty pickup on the cheap.  There still may be an opportunity here for that.  Of course, they now have the additional task of repairing their reputation.  

Maybe Mahindra has served its intended purpose.  Mahindra has become a case study in how not to launch a vehicle in the US.  Lessons learned should enable them to make a better go at successfully launching Ssangyong here.  Has the wave has crested, retreated, or only begun to push ashore? We’ll find out in August...
“And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave ....
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark —that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.” Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Sources: MP,, and Wikipedia as hyperlinked