What’s in store for Mahindra? Company brass spill some beans.
Not too many beans, mind you, but enough to give us an idea of what the future holds for the company which makes the cool little Roxor.
In a wide ranging interview with Automotive News, Rick Haas gave some insight into where the company might be going and lessons they’ve learned from the past. “Getting burned makes you cautious,” Haas said, referring to Mahindra’s previous experience in America when it failed to launch a low-cost pickup truck. That endeavor ended in shambles, with disgruntled dealers demanding the refund of their franchise fees and probably the heads of a few executives.
This time around, Mahindra is establishing itself in the off-road market before making any overtures into other segments. They’ve built around 3000 Roxors to date and are using the rig, which starts at around fifteen grand, to demonstrate to American consumers and dealers who are “acutely aware of our previous experience” that the Indian automaker can build a reliable product before it launches mainstream on-road models.
That’s an interesting statement, one which reveals that the company is committed to doing things the right way rather than rushing into the American market with a half-baked plan. The current legal flap with the bed-wetting lawyers at FCA over the Roxor’s design language aside, things seem to be going much better this time around. Almost 400 powersports dealers have jumped on board to sell the Roxor, about a third of which are under the same umbrella as a car dealer. This allows the company to make inroads with this segment without having to weather the schmozzle that happened last time.
How soon might Mahindra pull the trigger on a road-going car? Sooner than most may think. “I can’t say what our plans are, but the smoke is going to clear out of the air in the next year to 18 months,” Haas said in the AN interview. Recall that the company brazenly showed not only the Roxor but also the Marazzo, a front-drive family rig that has a ladder-frame chassis, at this year’s North American Auto Show in Detroit.
Whatever the future holds for Mahindra, it seems to hinge on their ability to snag a huge contract to provide vehicles for the U.S. Postal Service. A $6 billion (with a b) project may be decided this year and Mahindra is one of five companies under serious consideration.
We hope for the best. The world could use more Roxors.