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Indian Invasion Mahindra plans SUV, pickup for U.S. sales in '08

LINDSAY CHAPPELL | AUTOMOTIVE NEWS

AutoWeek | Published 11/06/06, 8:32 am et
Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., a small automaker in Mumbai, India, is quietly preparing to enter the United States. Mahindra has signed an independent distributor, Global Vehicles U.S.A. Inc., of Alpharetta, Ga.

Global Vehicles is asking dealers for a $125,000 payment to apply for a franchise.

Dealers who have heard Global Vehicles' sales pitch say Mahindra plans to reach the market in October 2008. The venture plans two vehicles, they say: a regular-cab pickup with a 2.6-liter turbodiesel engine and an SUV called the Scorpio. The company already sells farm equipment in the United States.

Mahindra officials did not respond to phone and e-mail requests from Automotive News for information about the arrangement. The company is best known for supplying India's military with small Jeep-like vehicles.

William Goetze, a former Mazda executive, is president of Global Vehicles. He said an agreement with Mahindra management restricts him from speaking about the venture publicly at this point.

Global Vehicles has given dealers a single-page copy of a "distribution agreement" that is signed by senior executives from Mahindra and Global Vehicles, but it does not state what the agreement covers.

Goetze retired as general manager of Mazda's U.S. sales operations in 1997. He would not say how many dealers have signed up for the franchise
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