I only ever remember there being one U.S. Postal Service truck in my lifetime. It’s boxy, low to the ground, with tiny wheels. It’s aesthetically unpleasant. However, the Grumman LLV (Long Life Vehicle) wasn’t designed for a beauty contest. The truck’s attractiveness comes from its no-nonsense design and utilitarian directive. The Grumman is all about getting to work and doing it efficiently. So, when the USPS announced it needed to replace a significant portion of its Grumman LLV fleet – possibly 180,000 trucks or more – several firms jumped at the chance for the contract. One such company was Mahindra, the Indian car manufacturing corporation.
We’ve seen spy photos of the company’s prototype earlier this year. With new spy photos in hand, we’ve noticed little has changed over the last few months. It has the same broad, boxy cargo area, which is a top requirement for the USPS due to larger packages needing to be shipped. These postal vehicles need to not only handle various sized packages but also be reliable, easy to fix, and relatively cheap to operate. When you’re building a vehicle by committee, you can understand why Mahindra’s design is, well, awkward.
Inside, the Mahindra prototype continues to include several modern-day features such as air conditioning, a push-button start, a push-button gear selector, and a driver’s airbag. Power will likely come from some four-cylinder gasoline or turbodiesel engine. The prototype’s underpinnings remain unknown. However, the platform is likely decades newer than the first-generation Chevy S10 platform that underpins the Grumman LLVs.
There’s no worry the Grumman LLVs will disappear overnight. The USPS has been working on finding a replacement vehicle for several years. Expect several rounds of revisions before any vehicle gets greenlit for production. At the very least, the replacement postal truck should begin to be phased in by the end of the decade. However, if the USPS isn’t satisfied with the contenders, might we suggest something a bit more unconventional?