Indian automaker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. has rejected an Atlanta company’s $35 million order for pickup trucks that would be imported to the United States

In a news release, Mahindra said its distribution contract with Atlanta-based Global Vehicles Inc. has expired and that it will be contacting dealers to “make other arrangements” for distribution of the trucks in the U.S..

“These are the dealers in the network Global Vehicles created,” said Global Vehicles spokesman Jim Cain.

Global Vehicles had exclusive rights to distribute the Mahindra diesel pickups in the U.S. but is now in a federal court fight with the manufacturer, seeking to enforce its distribution agreement and complaining about repeated delays in delivering the trucks.

In its latest news release, Mahindra claims the $35 million truck order by Global Vehicles is  “theatrics” designed  to “manipulate the press to damage Mahindra’s reputation.”

Global Vehicles claims it and the 350 dealers it has signed up in the U.S. have so far spent $100 million preparing to sell the Mahindra trucks.  

A clause in Global Vehicles distribution agreement with Mahindra allows the Indian company to exit the contract if the pickup trucks are not certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Global Vehicles agreed to extend the deadline for certification three times. The last deadline expired June 11. 

“Mahindra submitted its certification paperwork to the EPA about 10 days after the June 11 deadline,”  Global Vehicles said in a news release. 

On Aug. 20, Mahindra announced that it had obtained EPA certification and that its relationship with Global Vehicles was over.

Global Vehicles believes Mahindra intentionally delayed EPA certification until after the June 11 deadline so that it  could terminate its relationship with Global Vehicles, according to the Atlanta company’s news release. 

In addition to the federal lawsuit in Atlanta, the two companies are also in arbitration. The first session was in London  Sept. 15. 

Both companies are supposed to conduct business as usual during arbitration, said Mr. Cain, the Global Vehicles spokesman. 

“That is happening at Global Vehicles,” said Mr. Cain. “It’s not happening at Mahindra.”