Friday, September 30, 2011

Mahindra XUV500 Launches

Notice: Mahindra Planet will refrain from the usual flow of low key, snark-filled comments about Mahindra in the US in the following post.

Why the reprieve from MP’s de rigueur glibness?  Because the XUV500 really is a vehicle that Mahindra and India is (and rightly should be) extremely proud of.

The Mahindra XUV500 officially launched yesterday in India.  It is Mahindra’s first completely in-house automotive design and engineering effort.  Mahindra has spent years developing the XUV500, with test mules being spotted around India on and off for last three years alone.

As MP has described before, it is a front engine, 4-cylinder diesel, front wheel drive or all wheel drive, unitized construction, SUV.  Performance and driving evaluations are yet to be available, but judging by the overall look of the SUV and the known performance of the 2.2 liter mHawk engine, it certainly seems like the Mahindra should at least be competitive with other vehicles in its class.
 The styling is fantastic.  Mahindra did a great job of retaining brand identity and creating a unique design which will make a lasting impression.  The interior details look great, and fit and finish appear to be miles ahead of any other Mahindra SUV or pickup. has put together a comprehensive article with a huge series of great photos of the XUV500.  Go there to see more details:  Mahindra XUV500: Exclusive Photo Feature

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Diesel Ford Ranger and Chevy Colorado Ready for 2012 Release

2012 Ford “Global” Ranger
This is Ford’s new mid-size pickup which will be available pretty much everywhere in the world except the US as MP has complained about inthe past.  It will be available in regular cab, extended cab, and quad cab versions with choices of a gasoline 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed manual, or 4 and 5-cylinder diesels with 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmissions.  Read it and weep at First Drive: 2012 Ford Ranger

2012 Chevy Colorado
The good news is that we will likely get the new Colorado within the next few years.  The bad news is that engine options for the US are still undisclosed.  MP is a big proponent of GM installing the upcoming 4-cylinder diesel set for the Chevy Cruze in the new mini ‘rado.  Bolt up a 6-speed manual or 6-speed (or more) automatic and that engine could be a decent performer in a little pickup, but we will wait and see.  Read more at Next Gen Chevy Colorado Gets Ready for World Debut

Friday, September 16, 2011

2010 Revisited: “You Just Have to Be in the US”

Ah, January of 2010.  The year held so much promise.  A year full of hope; filled with gilded daydreams of Indian pickup trucks roaming American country roads and city streets: 

“We want to build a globally renowned brand in our niche area of sport and utility vehicles. We want to be the first and best-known Indian brand around the world, and when you have that mission, you have to be global, and you just have to be in the US. As the Frank Sinatra number goes, if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.” – Anand Mahindra

Four days later, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mahindra was on the lookout for a US assembly location for Mahindra SUVs and pickups and that TR20 and TR40 compact diesel pickups would be delivered to US dealers between April and June of 2010.

Cue the sound of the record player needle rapidly scratching across a record.

Today’s reality certainly isn’t as warm and fuzzy.  We’ll leave you on this early fall Friday with a fond look back at the glory days of long ago… okay, a year and a three quarters ago.

Anand Mahindra Interview: “You Just Have to Be in the US”

Mahindra to Launch TR20 & TR40 in March and Deliver in April, US Assembly inFuture

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mahindra to Lose EPA Approval in 2011

It’s hard to believe it was over a year ago that Mahindra finally announced that it had completed the physical requirements to obtain EPA certification.  Excitement was building and many fans were beginning to think that the arrival of the Mahindra diesel pickup was on the horizon.

Sadly, in the time that has passed, Mahindra purposely delayed completing the EPA paperwork filings, kicked its importer (Global Vehicles) to the curb, and the EPA released its Estimated New EPA MPG fuel economy ratingfor the USmodel Mahindra TR40 4x4 of only 21 mpg.

Mahindra appears to be on to bigger and better things (Ssangyong) with seemingly little regret and no remorse about abandoning their US market aspirations.

Now we close in on the end of 2011.  Mahindra will lose their 2011 model year EPA approval, and they have not filed for 2012 approval.  Mahindra and GV are currently in arbitration and a whole bunch of US dealers are left with sparse bank accounts and empty showrooms.

Well Mahindra, thanks for trying.  Maybe we we’ll see you again someday.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Official: W201 is Mahindra XUV500, December Launch Expected

Mahindra announced today that its long anticipated global SUV will be called the XUV500 (according to the press release, pronounced XUV ‘5 double Oh’), and launch this December in India and select global markets.

Mahindra Planet has detailed what is known of the new SUV on several occasions, and it appears that not much has changed.  The XUV500 will be positioned above all other current Mahindra products and target global competitors like Toyota, Mitsubishi, GM, and Ford.

The XUV500 will be a unitized (monocoque or unibody) design with a front transverse diesel engine layout and likely all-wheel-drive and front-wheel-drive versions available.  The XUV500 presents somewhat of a landmark for Mahindra, as it is the first complete vehicle to be designed and developed in-house, and represents a significant departure from the less refined, rugged trucks they currently build.

While the XUV500 was designed for world markets (including the US), it is likely that they will focus on utilizing existing Ssangyong distribution networks and initially focus on markets that Mahindra already has a presence in (like Africa).  However, don’t hold your breath for the XUV500 or other Mahindra products in the US any time soon.

Click HERE for the press release (which doubles as a great drinking game if you down a shot every time they mention the word “truly”).