Mahindra dealer speaks out about PNP contract

COUNTER FLOW - James Deakin - The Philippine Star

Despite being the lowest qualified bidder for the contract to supply 560 police vans, it seems the PNP are now being forced to disqualify Mahindra, which has naturally caused quite a stir within this little industry I call home.

Just minutes after broadcaster Ted Failon poked the sleeping bear with a very loud microphone, allegations of corruption began circulating in both social and traditional media, eventually prompting Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, to require Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima to come forward and explain himself.

It seems that the issue mostly stems around the fact that the brand has not been sold in the local market before and the PNP’s procurement requirements clearly state that they must have been in operation on Philippine roads for ten years.

Fair enough. But it is unclear whether the vehicles are required to have been in operation for a number of years or the distributor. If it is the former, the distributor claims that there are Mahindras still in operation, specifically the jeep, which were built and sold locally through Francisco motors and even used by the AFP.

But some would still argue that the model they have chosen, which is called the Enforcer, hasn’t been operating on Philippine roads for the set amount of years. True. But then again, if that were the case, any new model introduced, even by the more established brands, would also fall under the same fate. Case in point, the Innova, which doesn’t turn 10 till next year.

I’m not here to argue the merits of going with Mahindra or anyone else for that matter, but seeing how they have taken such a beating in the press, in the interest of balanced journalism, I contacted the Mahindra dealer for their side.

The key points made were basically:

The budget set at 895k needs to include the following:

1.         A full conversion of the pickup complete with siren lights with speakers

2.         Rear body conversion, full body build with convertible back to back & front facing seats.

3.         Cost of maintenance for a year

4.         Logistics, meaning delivery to the end users all over the Philippines

5.         3 years TPL & registration etc (NAPOLCOM specs)

The rest of the conversation pretty much went word for word like this:

“The prices the other brands are just for the unit. No conversion, no rear seats, just the bare unit and that’s it. I’ve already priced out the other brands and with all the things the procuring agency is asking for at the very least you’ll already be at 1.1-1.2m for the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Strada, etc, which is why they didn’t bid in the 1st place. They wanted the bid price raised because 900k was out of their budget for (Toyota, Mitsubishi Isuzu etc) We were the sole bidder.

Going back to the Mahindra pick up, it’s being used by the South African police for the very same purpose. The Indian army, Nepalese army some Chilean police departments, if it’s good enough for a modern country like South Africa, why not the Philippines? Mahindra also owns Ssangyong, the Korean vehicle manufacturer.

For the record the Mahindra Enforcer police version cranks 100 hp and 240 Newton-meters of torque. Toyota Hilux only 200 Newton-meters of torque hence a weaker engine with less pulling power. They also make airplanes, tractors, etc.”

I care as much about what the police choose to drive as I do about what Justin Bieber sings, but awarding a contract by breaking rules is as bad as denying one that has followed them. So as long as the winning bidder—whoever that turns out to be—has done so, may the best van win.










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