The hour grows closer for the launch of Mahindra's fist pickup here in the United States and we still know very little about the vehicle.
Mahindra crows on its U.S. website that the diesel powered trucklet will come standard with a six speed automatic, something that might actually be a turnoff for some, and that it will achieve an estimated 30MPG on the highway. The only engined offered will be a 140-hp, 2.2-liter, common-rail, turbocharged, diesel four-cylinder.
Various publications such as Truck Trend and Automotive News (sub required) peg the entry level price of the pickup to be in the low 20s. This $22-$24K price is vastly higher than the price of $13-$15K quote by this Detroit Free Press article.
This pricing confusion prompted me to contact Global Vehicles to get the full scoop. I was referred by GV to speak with their press liaison, Mike Geylin who set the record straight. Firstly, the Free Press article had a lot of inaccuracies. Geylin said that the headline "Chrysler, Ford dealers join Mahindra group" was not correct as Global Vehicles has not set its target on any one particular group of dealers. Also, the $13-$15K price range was way off base. The pickup will start in the low twenties and work its way up from there. The forthcoming SUV which is based on the pickup, will feature more equipment and will likely start at a higher price point. A few U.S. spec vehicles will be delivered to U.S. dealers later this year. The majority of the roll out for the pickup will be in 2010 and the SUV will follow about year later.
Mahindra has been promoting a national test ride program on its website for months, but truck enthusiasts have reported in forums that no one has been contacted by the company. Mr. Geylin said that interested parties should not expect to hear from Global Vehicles until this fall, but declined to be more specific than that. Asked if the vehicles on the tour will be "exactly" like the vehicles that consumers will be able to buy, Mr. Geylin decline to give a yes or no, but did say that it would be only logical that Global Vehicles would only want to show the U.S. spec product. Asked about the lack of a manual transmission, Mr. Geylin said that it was a combination of lack of projected demand and the additional costs that would be required to certify another model.
You can check out the Mahindra media kit for preliminary specs on the two and four door pickup models.