Mahindra Readying to Build New Plant Near Detroit

Facility likely to build off-road vehicles, maybe small pickups.

by on Nov.07, 2017

Mahindra & Mahindra's first entry into the U.S. was thought to be this pickup. With a new plant coming to metro Detroit, it may be again.

A new 400,000 square-foot automotive plant is going to be built in the shadow of Fiat Chrysler’s North American headquarters north of Detroit — by Mahindra & Mahindra.

The plant will be the first new auto plant in metro Detroit in 25 years, according to media reports. The company hasn’t issued any statements on what will be built at the new facility, but last month U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hinted that Mahindra plans to build off-road utility vehicles in the plant, The Times of India reported.

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Once completed it will join the 250,000 square-foot warehouse the company built in nearby Pontiac last year.

The India-based auto manufacturer has been eyeing the U.S. market for some time now, establishing its 40,000 square-foot North American technical center in Troy, Michigan, in 2013, at the time proclaiming it was the next step in its plans to come to North America.

(Ford, Mahindra team up in India, eye other emerging markets. For the story, Click Here.)

The company has 110 employees at the site and when the new plant opens, it will also function as the new tech center. The old building will continue as a prototyping facility.

Mahindra officials announce the opening of two new facilities in metro Detroit: a technical center in Troy and a plant in Ann Arbor.

Mahindra hoped to establish a foothold in the U.S. with a pickup truck and in the process signed up more than 300 dealers for a network looking to ride the latest import wave to financial success.

However, delays and other problems with the vehicle meeting U.S. standards resulted in those plans being put on hold. The angry dealers then sued in 2012, claiming the automaker “pocketed more than $9.5 million, more than a $100 million worth of dealer trade secrets to utilize for their future entrance into the U.S. market, and a strong market foundation gained at the expense of the dealers’ ‘free’ promotion of Mahindra’s brand name around the U.S.,” according to Crain’s Detroit Business.

(Click Here for more about Mahindra getting Pininfarina for a bargain prices.)

Mahindra denied the dealers’ claims, placing blame for the failure of plans to sell its pickups in the United States on its former U.S. distributor, Global Vehicles U.S.A. Inc. of Atlanta. The current status of that litigation was not immediately clear. An amended complaint was filed by six dealerships in 2016, Crain’s reported.

The company did not reveal how many new workers the new Auburn Hills facility would employ, but said in a media advisory it has tripled its employment in the Metro Detroit area over the last 18 months. It’s uncertain when the plant will begin construction or when it is expected to complete it.

In addition to its physical presence in the U.S., the company partnered with a U.S. company, Ford Motor Co., in September. The three-year deal calls for the two companies to work together on mobility programs, electric vehicles, connected vehicles and product development.

(To see more how Indian automakers are trying to get into the U.S. market, Click Here.)

The strategic alliance marks the second time Ford and Mahindra have tried to team up. They ended a three-year venture focused on producing small sedans in 2005. The venture also should help increase Ford’s distribution channels in India, addressing one of the maker’s toughest challenges cracking into a market of around 1 billion potential drivers. Mahindra, meanwhile, appears to be looking to benefit from Ford’s global reach by expanding its markets overseas.

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One Response to “Mahindra Readying to Build New Plant Near Detroit”

  1. Steven says:

    America’s auto industry continuously overlooks America’s insatiable appetite for a small cheap pickup. Like blue jeans and t-shits… like burgers and frys… like apple pie… a slice of America will flock to a reliable small cheap pickup.
    If Mahindra’s pickup is as good as the first Datsun and Toyota pickups ftom long long ago. Their Detroit factory will be a raging success.
    And loyalty to this new Model T … this generations Model T or VW’s original Bug… Datsun’s B210 or Toyota’s original Corolla… loyalty to an honest and simple … and cheap… vehicle will be cemented. And the auto press and the big auto makers will claim they are surprised… and didn’t see it coming. Hell I’ll buy one… if it’s any good… just to spite the industry. Just for fun actually. And beat the crap out if it… just to see if it can take it. I mean really where’s the fun in all these computer laden over powered non descript carsbofvtoday? We want a little personality in our stable of vehicles. This truck has me wanting it already. And I just learned about it 90 seconds ago.