Mahindra May Build US Plant for Pickup Trucks
By Brendan Moore
In yet another wrinkle in its American strategy, Mahindra and Mahindra may purchase, and then “build out” an existing factory in-country in order to manufacture the pickups it intends to sell in the United States.
Pravin N. Shah, executive vice president for Mahindra’s international automotive operations, told reporters, “We don’t need big volumes to assemble the pickup there (US) and we may do it.”
Mahindra currently owns three tractor factories in the US, the largest in Calhoun, GA.
The reason that Mahindra is considering US production is to avoid the 25% “chicken tax” on all imported trucks. The original plan, which would revert to the interim plan if Mahindra does set up a factory, was to import the trucks as knock-down kits and assemble the trucks in the US.
Mahindra’s strategy for American sales has been fairly fluid, with plans changing several times to date. Originally the plan was to start selling the trucks in early 2009. The trucks would have been subject to the whole 25% tariff.
The second plan was to sell the trucks in late 2009. Then, the knock-down kit plan was made part of the later launch date.
Now, apparently, the plan is to launch early 2010, and import the first trucks whole (with the 25% tariff) until production can be shifted over to a US facility.
But that could change.
Over 330 dealers have signed up to sell the clean-diesel mid-size pickups so far.
Mahindra is also planning to quickly follow their pickup launch in the US with a launch of their diesel SUV.
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