Mahindra Thar to not launch in Australia now, heavy local demand cited

Tuhin Guha Updated: May 22, 2021, 01:01 PM IST

A Mahindra spokesperson has issued a clarification regarding the objections raised by Jeep in an Australian court over the presumed launch of the Mahindra Thar in the country. The Indian carmaker states reports from the country have created a misrepresentation of facts and states, "We're seeing very strong demand for the all-new Thar 2020 in India, therefore have no immediate plans for the launch of the current variant of the Thar in markets outside India. As a result, it was pointless to engage in litigation at this stage. When we decide to launch any new variant of the Thar in Australia, we will provide 90 days' notice to FCA and take all steps to protect our rights to market and sell the product. This has no bearing on our future plans in Australia as we continue to pursue expansion of our business across a number of vehicle categories."

Stellantis' response to Mahindra deferring the Thar's Australia debut states, "FCA is pleased that Mahindra has conceded and undertaken that they will not import, market or sell the current Thar vehicle in Australia and will provide prior notice to FCA before bringing any future model or variant of the Thar into Australia. This outcome illustrates our commitment to protect the iconic trade dress and trademarks of the Jeep brand here and overseas, and continue to engage the passion our customers and loyal Jeep community in Australia have for these iconic vehicles."

To put this in perspective, the American brand had begun legal proceedings to stop the rumoured launch of the Mahindra Thar in the Australian market, and has demanded a 90-day written notice period from Mahindra to the start of the homologation process, if the latter does plan to launch the 4x4 in Australia.

The court had concluded that there is no present indication that Mahindra plans to launch the Thar in Australia but has also asked Mahindra to justify its appeal to shorten the notice period by half. The case was to be heard further on May 21.

Mahindra had begun pre-launch activities with the Mahindra Thar in Australia last year with one prototype being brought into the country for testing. The company had also put up a page on its website to gauge buyer interest. However, this page and the testing activities seem to have been put on hold. The Mahindra Thar's popularity in the Indian market has far surpassed the company's expectations and the carmaker has been working to ramp up production to meet this demand. The global semiconductor shortage and other supply issues exasperated by the COVID19 pandemic have made this difficult.

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