with John Perez, CEO of Global Vehicles U.S.A.
The Man Responsible for Launching Mahindra's Pickup in the United
By: Mike Levine Posted:
09-05-07 00:25 PT
© 2007 PickupTruck.com
#1: 09-07-07 04:05 PT
received a few e-mails asking why we didn't provide more
information about diesel engine specs. It's because the
U.S. versions of these trucks will have all-new
common rail diesel engines, not the same engines currently
found in the Indian version of these trucks. We're also expecting
brand new horsepower and torque figures that Mahindra is not
ready to make public yet.
trucks will also receive all-new interiors for the U.S. market.
say that importing a small, four cylinder, diesel-powered, six-speed
automatic pickup of Indian origin into the United States in hopes of
finding sales success would be a foolish venture, at best. After all,
what buyer would gamble spending hard earned dollars on a pickup from
a country more renowned for Bollywood instead of building trucks capable
of hauling wood?
is a man willing to take that bet.
is the CEO of Global Vehicles U.S.A. (GV-USA), an Alpharetta, Georgia-based
automotive import company that Indian farm equipment and vehicle manufacturer
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has partnered with to bring Mahindra's
new pickups to these shores - a regular cab and two crew cab models.
Mr. Perez has history on his side.
By the time
Mahindra's haulers go on sale in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2009,
we'll be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the birth of the import
compact truck in America. In 1959 another small, Asian-based company
started selling a few Japanese-sourced 37-horsepower pickups with the
funny name 'Datsun 1000'. Today that company sells tens of thousands
of midsize and full size pickups, not to mention every other type of
vehicle, under the Nissan brand.
repeat Nissan's success? Only time will tell but based on our recent
interview with Mr. Perez, they certainly seem to be off to a good start
targeting this truck for U.S. buyers.
spoke with PUTC, setting the record straight
on a few items and highlighting the value future Mahindra owners
can expect to find in their trucks.
other news reports we've read, it's been written that (at least one)
of Mahindra's trucks will be priced as low as the lowest-priced, entry-level
compact and midsize trucks currently available in the U.S., like the
Ford Ranger or Chevrolet Colorado. Is that information correct?
Perez (JP): I
know what you're saying but I don't know where that information came
from. We are not going to going to be the lowest truck in the market. We're
coming in with a truck that has a lot of the latest technology. For
example, we're going to have the latest technology in diesel engines.
The same technology you're going to find coming out by the end
of this year and next year in Mercedes Benz, BMW, and other high-end
cars. And our automatic transmission is going to be a six-speed 'tiptronic'
[manually shiftable] transmission. So, we're not going to be the
cheapest in the market, but we're going to be very reasonably priced.
price point do you expect these trucks to start at?
trucks will be priced starting somewhere in the low-twenties.
back to the latest technology - can you tell us more about the diesel
technology you're using? Is it going to be fully Tier 2 Bin 5 (T2B5)
green diesels - yes, they are going to be fully T2B5 compliant.
both particulates and NOX?
JP: That's correct. Yes.
nitrogen-oxides (NOX), how are you meeting T2B5? Are you using a urea
selective catalytic reduction (SCR) solution or an adsorber catalyst
[like Cummins uses for the 6.7-liter I6 in the Dodge Ram]?
the urea [NOX scrubbing] system will be ready by the time the trucks
go on sale in 2009?
you have a service interval that you'll be recommending to owners to
refill the urea tank?
still working on that right now. I can't give you all the details on
it, but yes, there will be a service interval. We're working on the
urea refill interval to be at the same time as the normal service
interval. And, we're also working for consumers to have free maintenance
during the lifetime of the truck's warranty too.
PUTC: The mileage warranty mentioned on your website says it will last
60,000-miles, but we didn't see the time duration. For what time period
will the factory warranty be available?
will be for four-years, 60,000-miles, bumper-to-bumper. And we're working
on the same time period to also include free maintenance and urea (refills)
too. It's not a certainty yet, but it's 90%.
PUTC: Can you talk about where the truck is going to be serviced? Is
it going to be at the same dealer where the truck was sold? It's our
understanding that Mahindra will start off with approximately 300 dealers
they'll be serviced at the same dealer where the truck was bought.
Right now we're at 240 (signed) dealers and our target is to
go to 400 (by the time the truck goes on sale).
PUTC: And will these dealers be both regular vehicle dealers and Mahindra
tractor dealers? [Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd currently sell farm tractors
in the United States]. Some combination of the two?
the trucks will only be sold from existing automobile dealers. No
tractor dealers. That's a completely separate unit.
PUTC: Do you have numbers for the payload and towing capacity of the
don't have towing yet but we do have payload. We expect payload capacity
to be a little over a ton.
about locking differentials? Will the truck also come with a locking
the truck will also come with a locking differential.
PUTC: Since all the trucks will be coming from India, what about the
buyer who wants to place a special order? Will there be an opportunity
to do that or will the trucks only come as delivered?
are going to be able to special order trucks, just like you would any
other car from another car company. Our turnaround time for our orders
will be around 3 to 4 months, and we're expecting the same amount of
time for a special order to be delivered.
PUTC: Do you have any volume targets yet for 2009?
question has been asked a lot. We have our own volume targets and we
have our dealers' targets too. Our (internal) targets are lower than
our dealers' right now. We've targeted to sell an initial 45,000 units
in the first year - for both trucks and SUVs [Mahindra will also import
two SUVs to sell in the U.S., starting in 2009]. The dealers' numbers
are much higher than this and we're going to let the retailers drive
what we bring into the country. We're not going to build vehicles and
then sell them. The retailers will drive production.
do you expect the mix to be between crew cab and regular cab pickups?
looking at the (initial) mix to be 65% / 35%, with 65% being crew
cab and 35% regular cab. When we listen to some of our larger,
commercial dealers, we hear them saying they can do a great job with
a two-door pickup that has a (payload) capacity of over a ton and a
diesel engine. So, we don't know where the commercial two door pickups
might be as opposed to the four door pickup, which is more of a family
about accessories? Are you also planning to sell a line of Mahindra
accessories for these trucks too?
Definitely yes. Mahindra already has a line of accessories available
for the trucks in India now, so all of those accessories are going
to be available here, too. Like brush guards, roll bars, fiberglass
caps, bed liners. All of that will be available.
important question we've heard from our readers - how many cupholders
is the truck going to have?
It's going to have a lot! I'm laughing about this because our service
people we're just in India and they took cups from Starbucks, McDonalds,
(and other places). Every cup you could imagine was taken to India
to make sure they could hold the 'Big Gulp' cups and stuff that we
use here in the states. I don't know what the final number will be
but it will have enough cupholders. This is a great question because
JD Power just did a study of our trucks and SUVs and one of the items
they looked at was cupholders. It's a big thing with Americans - having
the right cupholders, and I can see that.
one last question - is the front suspension going to be a solid front
axle or independent?
going to be an independent front suspension. Again, this truck has
been built using the latest technology. It's not an old truck, like
some other manufacturers are trying to bring into the country from
overseas. This truck was developed two years ago and it was
developed to come into this market. The engine was developed by Mahindra
but with the assistance of (leading diesel component suppliers) Bosch
and (Michigan-based) AVL.
sounds great. Thanks so much for your time today. We can't wait to get
behind the wheel of your new trucks.
JP: Thank you.