Indian automaker Mahindra Group announced plans to open the first new auto assembly plant in southeast Michigan in 25 years. The plant will open in Auburn Hills, which is good news for Metro Detroit’s economy and the state's reputation as the automotive capital of the world—but could there be an EV angle? It looks promising.
While Mahindra’s U.S. activities have mainly been in tractor distribution and information technology, the company produces three different EVs in India, including a subcompact passenger car, a cargo van, and a three-wheel micro car, as reported by the Detroit News. The Times of India reported that Mahindra will use the new facility to assemble off-road utility vehicles, but it seems unlikely that a company trying to break into the American passenger vehicle market would miss out on the electrification trend, especially given southeast Michigan’s status as an electrification and automation innovation cluster.
Mahindra has previously partnered with Ford to work on mobility programs and electrification in India, so there is an opportunity for the two companies to team up again here in Michigan. Otherwise, there is an opportunity for a new competitor in the race toward long range, affordable EVs of all shapes and sizes. Either way, Mahindra’s history in Michigan shows a trajectory that could take the company into an even bigger space that would manufacture EVs (the Auburn Hills plant will only be 150,000 square-feet).
Mahindra group also has a North American headquarters and technical center in Troy, a warehouse in Pontiac, and an assembly plant which builds GenZe electric bikes and scooters in Ann Arbor. The North American headquarters will move to the new Auburn Hills plant, and Mahindra seems to have found a second home here in Michigan. If the company already builds EVs in India and electric bikes here, why not hope for some exciting new EVs built by Michigan? We might find out more when the company holds a press conference on November 20.
Published on November 15, 2017