AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - India-based auto manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra Limited announced Friday plans to build a new auto assembly plant in Auburn Hills. It is the first new auto plant in the area since Chrysler’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant opened in 1991.
“Anytime anybody wants to build a plant in the Detroit area, we should welcome them with open arms.” said auto analyst John McElroy. "It's absolutely a good thing."
Worldwide, branded as “Mahindra”, the company manufactures SUVS, cars, pickups, commercial vehicles and more, but in the United States, it’s known for tractors. The 400,000-square-foot facility is smaller than the typical auto manufacturing plant, but they will be starting small by building side-by-side ATVs, taking manufacturing on themselves after contracting an Arkansas company to build them two years ago.
"(At) 400,000 square feet, that's a giant building, but in automotive terms that's an inky, dinky little facility,” McElroy said. “So it's going to be very low volume and probably just assembly, bringing in parts from other places."
It’s not the first time the Mumbai-based company has done business in Michigan. Mahindra and Mahindra instituted its North American headquarters in Troy in 2013.
A 2010 attempt to manufacture and import pickup trucks in the states ultimately led to a civil action lawsuit against the company filed in 2012, alleging the company commtted conspiracy and fraud.
"They failed miserably. They hired some groups here and they collected all this money from dealers, and nothing happened and they got sued by the dealers that put millions into the company," said McElroy.
It’s estimated that the new facility will create 150 to 200 new assembly jobs in Michigan.
Mahindra and Mahindra will hold a press conference revealing further details on Nov. 20.
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