In 2004, Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra began courting U.S. auto dealers to build a network of outlets for its trucks and SUVs. Eventually, the company had accumulated $9.5 million in fees from prospective dealers itching to sell Mahindra-branded vehicles.
Mahindra promised to have trucks for sale in the U.S. by 2008 and SUVs by 2009. Fast-forward to 2012, and there are still no Mahindras for sale in the U.S.
Now, Miami-based law firm of Diaz Reus & Targ has stepped in to represent dealers in New Hampshire,Florida, California, New Jersey and Washington in a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.
“Mahindra told the dealers that its light trucks and SUVs were ready for delivery to the U.S. market,” maintains Diaz Reus in a press release. “However, Mahindra intentionally delayed certification of its vehicles after obtaining the dealership fees and trade secrets, and began pursuing other partners in the U.S. and elsewhere in clear violation of their commitments.”
“Through their false representations, the defendants lured the U.S. dealers into making investments and promoting Mahindra’s brand name,” said Diaz. “Mahindra is going to learn that trying to outsmart the dealers was a serious mistake, as we will aggressively seek justice for our clients.”
This is not the first lawsuit tied to Mahindra’s fortunes in the States. Last year, Global Vehicles USA, the firm looking to be the brand’s distributor in the U.S., lost a British arbitration ruling that effectively squelched any hopes of bringing the TR20 and TR40 pickups to this market any time soon.