After enduring much abuse about our Mahindra/Navistar/Alabama story over a month ago, there has still been no official announcement on the actual purpose of the facility being leased by Navistar in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. As long time readers of this blog know, we are used to all kinds of abuse and have subsequently encased the Mahindra Planet cyber-office in a special alloy which is completely impervious to hate and utter disdain.
So the seldom loved and nearly universally loathed Mahindra Planet is at it again. Well, we were at it last year when we ran a post about SsangYong Motor Co. chairman, Yoo Lee, stating that Ssangyong products will be sold in the US within the next five years, but possibly within the next two to three. MP continues to stand behind the December post and our sources, despite Mahindra's public denial that they intend to produce a Mahindra pickup in Alabama. Whether or not that pickup is actually a current Mahindra-branded product, or a Mahindra-owned product (like the Ssangyong Korando Sports) remains to be seen.
New Rumors of SsangYong Entering US
Two weeks ago AutoGuide.com ran a post in which they stated that they "have good reason to believe" that Mahindra will bring the SsangYong Korando Sports to the US instead of any other Mahindra owned product.
As MP stated in back in March of 2011, bringing the SsangYong pickup here could easily create a loophole which allows Mahindra to enter the US market with a compact diesel pickup, but avoid any previous commitment to former import and distribution partner, Global Vehicles USA or their established dealer network.
The Ssangyong brand name (or as PickupTrucks.com’s Mike Levine surmises, a newly created brand name) could be used on any Mahindra or Ssangyong built vehicles imported to the United States. Creating a new brand dedicated to the US market could potentially circumnavigate the ongoing legal battle between GV and M&M. This could allow Mahindra to establish its own import and distribution enterprise, and bypass the current Mahindra dealer network set up by GV. The dealers and GV are legitimately concerned that they could be left in the dust.MP Still Believes Navistar Will Build Mahindra Pickups in Alabama
The Mahindra pickups built here could very well be any Mahindra product including Mahindra, SsangYong, or Reva branded vehicles.
Mahindra is extremely dedicated to the globalization of the Mahindra brand name and has established decent brand recognition in the US with their tractor and information technology divisions. On the flip side, the Mahindra small truck brand in the US has become a symbol of Mahindra’s inability to create a truly global automotive product and execute an enchanting business and marketing strategy in the United States. A new brand name may help bury these negative impressions.Sources: AutoGuide: SsangYong Korando Sports Released, Headed to America?
MahindraPlanet: US to see SsangYong SUV's in 2-5 Years