Back in the days before pickups and SUVs became rolling-clubroom status symbols, manufacturers used to build simple, no frills, rugged trucks. If you needed a full sized truck, you shopped for a Ford, Chevy or Dodge, depending on your upbringing. If you needed a compact pickup, you shopped for a Toyota. Once you realized how expensive Toyota’s were, then you shopped for a Ford, Chevy, Nissan, Mitsubishi or Isuzu.
Isuzu and Mitsubishi have all but vanished from the market, and today’s offerings from the other manufacturers tend to be long on luxury and high in price. What if you want a simple, low cost truck with serious hauling capability? What if you’d prefer a diesel motor in your compact pickup? That pretty much narrows the field to none, these days.
Fear not, Mr. Bargain Hunter. Mahindra, the Indian manufacturer best known for building stout farm tractors at reasonable prices, will announce by month end their entry date into the US truck market. Despite repeated delays to their original 2009 launch date, the manufacturer is finalizing approvals on their diesel motor and assures us they’ll be to market by year end. Their first offering, the TR series pickup in two and four door versions, will be a compact sized, diesel powered work truck with best in class payload capabilities. Sure the styling is a bit funky, but at least it doesn’t look like anything else on the road.
Given Mahindra’s success in the farm tractor market and their exposure as a sponsor in NASCAR, I think they may be on to something here. If they price the TR series correctly and offer a better warranty than the competition, I think you’ll be seeing quite a few on the U.S. roads in the coming years. That is, of course if they actually get to market.