If you are one of those waiting for a India-made, United States assembled Mahindra pickup trucks, be prepared to wait a little longer. Better yet, make that a lot longer. Mahindra’s United States importer has filed a $35 million lawsuit and the EPA is waiting for Mahindra to submit certification paperwork for EPA approval.

Impressive plans

Mahindra, a 65-year-old company based in India, announced plans three years ago to bring its fuel-efficient and inexpensive TR20 and TR40 pickup trucks to the United States. The two-door TR20 and the crew cab TR40 both feature a 2.2-liter, turbo diesel engine that can get as much as 30 mpg, according to pickuptrucks.com. The company also claims a 1.3-ton hauling capacity.

Combine those numbers with last year’s spike in the cost of a gallon of gasoline to nearly $4 nationally, and pickup truck drivers had plenty of reasons to take notice.

Fuel savings to fuel passion for pickups

While the price is similar to the MSRP for a base 2010 Ford F150 XL pickup truck, according to Kelly Blue Book, the Mahindra truck would get nearly 30 percent more miles per gallon. At that rate, a driver who puts on 15,000 miles a year would spend $750 more a year less in gasoline costs, according to Kelly Blue Book’s figures. transport services

Lawsuit puts the brakes on launch

Mahindra was being sued for $35 million dollars for delays in its widely anticipated United States launch. The Mahindra was to be launched in 2009, but that deadline has been pushed back several times. First company officials said they would be able to launch the Mahindra two-truck lineup by the end of the year, but then they said spring 2010 was the earliest. As American dealers built facilities to house their new Mahindra showrooms, parts departments and service areas, the company is again hinting that it may not be able to launch this year after all.

Worst yet, those 350 dealers have spent nearly $60 million in upgrades even though the first of the Mahindra pickup trucks have not landed on these shores, according to The Montgomery Advertiser.

In a lawsuit filed June 14, Atlanta-based Global Vehicles, Mahindra’s sole U.S. distributor, claimed that Mahindra was taking too long to get its trucks imported into the United States. Global Vehicles entered into an agreement with Mahindra in September 2006, and the pickup was supposed to be introduced to these shores in 2009. That introduction was delayed because of regulatory clearances, the suit charges.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, and claims that Mahindra has delayed getting final safety and emissions certification, meanwhile the dealers are ready to go but have no product to sell, according to pickuptrucks.com. The website also reported that an Environmental Protection Agency official said that Mahindra has failed to file its emissions certification paperwork with the EPA.

So at a time when Dodge, Ford and General Motors don’t need any more competition from an inexpensive import, it looks like they aren’t going to get it.

The Mahindra pickup truck was a good idea, wasn’t it?