'Wild, Wild East' Automaker Eyes U.S. Market

India's Mahindra & Mahindra Picks Ad Agency for Vehicle Rollout in 2008

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DETROIT (AdAge.com) -- Never mind those Chinese automakers, which have grabbed gobs of media coverage about their plans to sell cars in the U.S. Now it's India's turn.
An SUV from Mahindra that may make it to U.S. dealerships
An SUV from Mahindra that may make it to U.S. dealerships

Global Vehicles USA, Alpharetta, Ga., is the exclusive distributor and marketer for Mahindra & Mahindra, a small automaker in India that plans to introduce India-made vehicles to the U.S. in the fall of 2008.

$100 million in billings
The distributor named Titan Agency, Atlanta, as its agency of record for creative, media and public relations after a review, the shop said. A spokeswoman claimed the account could jump to $100 million in annual billings in 2011, based on the client's vehicle sales projections of 110,000 units.

Global Vehicles CEO John Perez declined to comment.

Titan said Mahindra, which has sold tractors in the U.S. for a decade, plans to launch three models here, an sport-utility vehicle, a sport recreational vehicle and a two-door, single-cab pickup, all powered by a turbo diesel engine.

Global Vehicles already has signed 195 of the 300 U.S. dealers it is targeting for the launch.

'Pretty good products'
Jim Sanfilippo, exec VP of auto consultant AMCI, said Mahindra will start modestly in the U.S. and is currently making "pretty good products" in India.

"These folks could be formidable, but it will take them a while," he said. Although Chinese automakers are grabbing headlines, "India is absolutely part of the wild, wild East with its fast growth."
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