For the company’s sake, hopefully Mahindra & Mahindra’s second attempt to enter the U.S. market won’t go the same way as the first.
The Indian automaker is reportedly planning a 400,000-square-foot assembly plant in the Detroit suburb of Auburn Hills, and has scheduled a press conference with government officials for November 20th. As we all know, local representatives and their higher-ups don’t like braving the cold unless there’s a promise of jobs and cameras.
A previous attempt to tap into the U.S. market went nowhere, ending in a lawsuit. If this plan comes to fruition, it would make Mahindra’s auto plant the first built in the Detroit area in decades — and would provide American consumers with some new SUV options.
According to Automotive News, Mahindra did not include a production timeline in its advisory.
The automaker, one of India’s largest, already operates a technical center in nearby Troy, Michigan. While it remains the world’s largest tractor manufacturer, the company is increasingly anxious to spread its passenger vehicles to new markets. (It also holds out hope of securing the contract for the next U.S. Postal Service mail delivery vehicle.)
Reports in Bloomberg and The Times of India in recent days pointed towards a looming American announcement, though little information was contained within. The Indian publication asserts that Mahindra wants to build sport-utility vehicles at the future Michigan plant.
SUVs are what Americans want, and that just happens to be the automaker’s main focus — overseas, its Bolero, Xylo, XUV500, TUV300, and KUV100 do battle with vehicles in the subcompact to full-size class. With product in the bag, that leaves public interest and regulator certification as Mahindra’s top U.S. concerns.
A decade ago, Mahindra had a dealer network and distributor all lined up. The plan — to sell an imported diesel pickup (subject to the 25 percent “chicken tax”) and other vehicles assembled from tax-avoiding knockdown kits — never came to pass. Dealers pointed the finger at Mahindra, suing the company in 2012, while the automaker accused its U.S. distributor of messing the whole thing up. The case is still working its way through the courts.
A version of this story originally appeared on The Truth About Cars