A recent report from J.D. Power & Associates indicates Indian company Mahindra & Mahindra's (M&M) consumer-level products may not be ready for prime time in the world's largest car market. Anand Mahindra, the company's vice chairman and managing director, has told its U.S. distributor that it will delay the launch of its trucks for six months as it re-evaluates the product for American use. The extra time will also be used to continue preparing the company's diesel engine for full 50-state certification.
Still scheduled to hit the streets in 2009, M&M's trucks will not arrive until the fourth quarter instead of the late first or early second quarters as previously planned. M&M's U.S. distributor, Georgia-based Global Vehicles USA, Inc., is still eager to begin sales of the truck, but t he company's concerns with quality are overriding. To test the performance of its vehicles further, the maker plans to drive 3.2 million vehicle miles via its 25-truck fleet, reports Automotive News.
A recent J.D. Power survey, commissioned by M&M itself, found several key areas of improvement that would be necessary to ensure a successful launch for the brand in the U.S. Improved seats, headliners cupholders and interior design are just a few of the 196 elements outlined in the resulting report. Anand Mahindra is reported to have told John Perez, CEO of Global Vehicles, "My family's name is going onto this vehicle, and it's not going to fail."
Their entry into the market seems timely as consumers downsize from large pickups and trucks into smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles. A diesel-powered version of the company's truck will arrive in 2010, prepared to meet the EPA's new 50-state emissions certification, though it has not yet been approved. The pickup is expected to come as both a two-door and a four-door, with a 2.2L four-cylinder diesel unit capable of achieving 30mpg (7.84L/100km) during highway driving, according to Mahindra & Mahindra execs. It will also be capable of carrying 1.3 tons of cargo, and despite not having the cachet of a well-known brand, the pickup is expected to be popular with consumers on a budget.
In addition to the pickup, a compact SUV is expected to follow in early 2010 that will be based on a much-improved Mahindra & Mahindra Scorpio, made for the Indian market. The American retail version will have a new interior and various features that are expected to make the car more palatable to discerning customers, including new styling and safety features.
More vehicles are expected to come after 2010, including a larger pickup.