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Mahindra-GV battle to begin soon in US courts


Even as utility vehicle major Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) said it had completed filing in the US to dismiss a lawsuit filed by its former US distributor, Global Vehicles Inc, the latter has charged M&M with interfering in relationships it has with auto financiers.

Global Vehicles Inc has claimed in court documents that M&M is interfering in its relationship with General Motors Auto Finance (GMAC) and Ford Credit, automobile credit providers.

“Global Vehicles has learned of further conduct on the part of Mahindra that supports Global Vehicles’ request for a preliminary injunction, including but not limited to Mahindra’s interference with Global Vehicles’ financing relationships GMAC and Ford Credit,” a document filed by GV earlier this month stated.

An M&M spokeswoman had no comments to offer. Both companies are fighting an intense battle at a US district court in Atlanta, Georgia. M&M last month announced it had severed its ties with GV after the latter moved the district court against the former for delaying launch of its diesel pick-up trucks.

M&M has separately asked GV to stop using the ‘Mahindra’ brand name in its marketing and on its website. M&M has also asked GV Inc to avoid any affiliation with the Mahindra brand.

In a fresh statement, M&M said, “On June 28, M&M filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that Global Vehicles USA Inc (GV) filed against Mahindra in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. GV had also initiated arbitration proceedings against M&M.”

Adding: “On September 2, M&M filed its final reply brief in support of its motion to dismiss the lawsuit and the briefing on the M&M’s lawsuit is now complete. The US court may issue a ruling on M&M’s motion to dismiss at any time.”

M&M, which last month received long-awaited approval from the US Environmental Protection Agency which allows it to import trucks into the US, has also stated that the agreement with GV expired on June 11.

“GV was well aware that the agreement expired automatically on June 11. The agreement was clear and unambiguous on this central point and the parties even negotiated two extensions of this expiry date,” stated M&M.

Mahindra, which is ready with two pick-up truck models to be sold in the US, has further said both the parties had agreed to arbitrate disputes arising out of their agreement and it should be so settled.

An arbitral tribunal constituted for the purpose shall meet shortly. The first session is scheduled for September 15.

GV, which has said it had signed up for more than 350 dealers and spent more than $35 million (Rs 162 crore) preparing for the launch, has said any attempt by M&M to terminate the contract will be termed invalid under the US laws. It had also asked the court to restrain M&M from engaging with any other dealer or distributor for retailing its range of vehicles.