Sales in the pickup truck market are about to get more competitive. Mahindra & Mahindra, an Indian-based company, has been waiting for over a year to introduce its compact diesel pickup in the U.S. The firm had originally planned to launch the truck, to be named either the TR20 or TR40, last summer. But the entire auto industry slowdown forced Mahindra to change its plans. Now the company plans to begin actively selling its trucks in the U.S. by December.
The vehicle will “be promoted as a ‘no-nonsense’ truck for work and play,” says Pawan Goenka, president of Mahindra's auto and farm-equipment operations. The company has already hired Strawberry Frog to begin a branding campaign. The vehicle is positioned to compete with the Toyota Tacoma, Ford Ranger and Nissan Frontier. Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Matthew Dolan notes that the compact truck segment saw unit sales of 240,000 in 2009 and may see that level rise to 300,000 by next year.
The Mahindra truck is already being sold in other markets such as Europe and South America so the company is gaining selling experience. In addition, Mahindra may move manufacturing to the U.S. in order to avoid the high tax rate that comes with some imported vehicles. The company plans to tout fuel efficiency and the truck’s diesel engine as it competes with other firms in this market segment. The truck’s entrance into the U.S. market is just the beginning of the plans Mahindra has with respect to selling vehicles here and is an indication of the increasingly global nature of the vehicle manufacturing and marketing industry.[Source: Dolan, Matthew. In a first, Truck from India to Sell in U.S. Wall Street Journal. 14 May 2010. Web. 21 May 2010.]