Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. to Market First Indian-Made Vehicle in the U.S. Later this Year

Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. is expected to begin selling Indian-made diesel pickups in the U.S. later this year.

Independent, Atlanta-based distributor, Global Vehicles U.S.A., intends to market the imported clean diesel pickups through a network of approximately 330 dealerships throughout the U.S.

The pickups will be available with a six-speed automatic transmission and 140 hp, 2.2-liter, common-rail, turbo-charged diesel engine designed by Bosch and capable of delivering 236 pound-feet of torque.

The 2-door pickup features a best-in-class, 7.5 foot long bed and 2,765 lbs. payload, while the 4-door version delivers a 2,633 lbs. payload.

Other features of the 2- and 4-door models include an antilock braking system, power door locks and stability control. The 4-door model will also be available with 4WD and leather seats.

Global plans to introduce a U.S. engineered Sports Utility Vehicle version, based on the Mahindra Scorpio SUV, within the next two years. The SUV will sport a clean burning common-rail diesel engine, electronic shift on the fly, 4WD and a six-speed automatic transmission.

A seven-passenger version featuring a third-row seat is also being considered.

Mahindra claims an impressive 30 mpg fuel efficiency rating for the pickup and SUV body styles; however, neither the EPA nor National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have verified that number or approved the vehicles for sale in the U.S.

Although sales volumes are expected to be modest with only selected dealerships receiving the models this year, Global Vehicles U.S.A. expects to sell about 50,000 pickups in 2010.

Other, unnamed models may also become available in the U.S., but those releases are at least four years down the road.

Mahindra is not the only Indian automaker looking to move into the U.S. market. This past May, billionaire Ratan Tata, whose corporate empire includes energy, technology and automotive divisions among others, announced that Tata Motors Ltd. will begin selling its Nano micro car in the U.S. within the next two years. The Nano is among the best-selling autos in India and sells for the equivalent of $2,500.

Base price for the Mahindra 2-door pickup is expected to be between $22,000 and $25,000 with the top-of-the-line 4-door model expected to sell for between $24,000 and $27,000.

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