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2009 Mahindra Pik-Up – First Look

Ever heard of, or even seen a Mahindra Pik-Up?

Funny enough, I saw one of these Indian designed and built vehicles yesterday for the first time, on Sydney’s northern beaches.

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Don’t be at all surprised though, by the lack of Mahindra sightings if you happen live in any of Australia’s capital cities, you’re not the target market, at least, not yet.

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Most of the 20-plus Mahindra dealers in this country are located well outside suburbia, in rural or semi rural areas for good reason, that’s where the farms are, and that’s where you’ll find these Mahindra Pik-Ups.

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd is no backyard operation either; it’s a US$6.3 billion dollar corporate giant with tentacles spanning the globe, and automotive is just one of their many business categories.

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And while the Australian operation might be relatively small at the moment, watch this space very carefully.

Mahindra Automotive Australia (MAA) is a joint venture between TMI Pacific (a division of the well-respected Sydney based Tynan Motor Group) and Mahindra & Mahindra, which owns 80 per cent of the venture.

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It’s worth noting that in these dark economic times, Mahindra & Mahindra are one of the few global corporations that is currently expanding, with new plants under construction in several countries.

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Moreover, they have never pulled out of any market they have launched in, since the company began assembling the famous Willy’s Jeep back in 1945.  This is one company that is here to stay, despite what you may think of Indian built vehicles.

But don’t believe me, or the hype, just ask any proud Aussie owners of the Mahindra Pick-Up, as I did this morning.

Rees Leyshan, is a landscaper and part time adventurer from the Hills Shire, in Sydney’s north west, and he and his family, have driven their first generation Pik-Up more than 20,000km across some of the harshest country Australia has to offer, and he’ll tell you it “didn’t miss a beat”.

On one trip alone to Australia’s water logged top end, he crossed 20 rivers, and pulled both Mitsubishi and Toyota badged vehicles out from harm’s way.

Mind you, when he first bought the Mahindra, his mates gave him hell and nicknamed the car, the ‘Calcutta Commodore’. Today, there are three more in his suburb.

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As one dealer said, “we don’t have to sell these vehicles; the owners do the selling for us.”

The prime motivation for someone to look at a Mahindra Pik-Up is price and value for money.

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Financially strapped farmers believe that you can’t compare them to anything on the market, as far as value and reliability goes. If you can learn to live with the Mahindra badge and the jokes from the boys, they appear to offer substantial economic benefits.

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The marketing push for Mahindra is all about tough and the ad slogan reads, “made for the hardest places on earth”.

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India is not exactly kind to cars and the Australian bush isn’t much better, and yet there are hundreds of testimonials from the dark corners of the globe, testifying to the reliability and robustness of Mahindra vehicles.

Rees Leyshan wishes he had waited for this next generation Mahindra, with more than 20 new features including; dual front airbags, ABS brakes and power side mirrors, all for a lower price than the first generation vehicle.

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Clearly, there is a market beyond landscapers and farmers for the Pik-Up, any type of tradesmen who watches his outgoings would do well to have a good look over the Mahindra offering.

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It’s still powered by the same 2.5-litre CRDe four-cylinder. turbo-diesel engine producing 79kW and 247Nm of torque from 1800 rpm and mated to a five-speed manual transmission. However, you can be confident of more grunt and the possibility of a six-speed auto with any future facelift.

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The other good news is that Mahindra will soon be launching a range of Pik-Ups and SUVs into the North American market, so we should see a similarly expanded range in Australia too, kicking off with the Scorpio SUV in 2010.

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There’s a stack of room in the front cabin, and in the rear in the dual cabs too, with unlimited storage space for bits and pieces, while the quality of materials used throughout the interior has been stepped up a notch or two.

I’m keen to test drive the new Pik-Up,  given the substantial improvement in overall features and general seat comfort, which I sampled during today’s launch and CarAdvice will be posting a thorough review of the vehicle as soon as possible.

Mahindra Pik-Up 4 x 2 – prices to ABN holders

•     2.5 CRDe Turbo Diesel Single Cab 4 x 2 Cab/Chassis – $18,999*
•     2.5 CRDe Turbo Diesel Single Cab 4 x 2 $20,499*
•    2.5 CRDe Turbo Diesel Double Cab 4 x 2 Cab/Chassis $23,299*
•    2.5 CRDe Turbo Diesel Double Cab 4 x2 $24,199*

Mahindra Pik-Up 4 x 4 prices to ABN holders

•    2.5 CRDe Turbo Diesel Single Cab 4 x 4 Cab/Chassis $24,199*
•    2.5 CRDe Turbo Diesel Single Cab 4 x 4 Single Cab 4 x 4 $25,599*
•    2.5 CRDe Turbo Diesel Double Cab 4 x 4 Cab/Chassis $25,999*
•    2.5 CRDe Turbo Diesel Double Cab 4 x 4 $26,999*

*Manufacturers’ List Price




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