Mahindra plant and engineering ops comes to MI, electric bikes planned

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, Technology, Motorcycle, Electric

Mahindra GenZe electric scooter, side view.

Depending on who you speak to, India’s Mahindra & Mahindra might be best known in the States for the six-year saga of huge hopes and dashed dreams embodied in a small, diesel pickup truck, as a tractor maker pushing its way into a US market ruled by John Deere and Kubota, as the owner of Ssangyong, as one of the companies that tried to buy Aston Martin or as an automotive engineering firm providing product development services to almost every carmaker out there. It’s that last division that gets headlines now, Mahindra announcing an expansion of its facilities in Troy, Michigan on top of the news that it’s setting up a factory in Ann Arbor, Michigan to build its GenZe scooter.

The Mahindra North American Technical Center (MNATC) is an outgrowth of the first tech center set up by Mahindra Engineering Services (MES) in 2012, now called Tech Mahindra. Mahindra Engineering is – obviously – the contract engineering services arm that serves a variety of industries, including transportation companies from Navistar to McLaren to Seat. Rick Haas, the president and COO of the MNATC, told Autoblog that he had five subject matter experts working out of the Tech Mahindra building doing product development for Mahindra in Chennai, India. Those experts weren’t involved with Tech Mahindra, simply “squatting” in the building while they worked on products in the home market. About a year later it was deemed that the product development team “was exceeding our expectations, [so] we decided to turn this small group into a proper PD team and start full vehicle Product Development out of the Detroit area.”

Those five engineers have moved into their new building and are now, Haas said, “up to 42 heads, on our way to about 100 this year, and more after that as we build a proper automotive PD center here to support the global aspirations of Mahindra in our auto business worldwide.” They’ll be “100% focused on supporting Mahindra’s OEM auto business,” supporting the engineering team in Chennai, India. “No work will ever be done for other companies” out of the MNATC, Haas said.

The Ann Arbor facility will build the GenZe, an electric scooter with a 30-mile-per-hour top speed and a price tag of $3,000. The plant is scheduled to manufacture 9,000 scooters per year, with the ability to increase that to 20,000 per year if sales take off. They will be sold direct in California, Florida, Oregon and Virginia, and through dealers in other states. There’s a press release below with more information.

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Mahindra plant and engineering ops comes to MI, electric bikes planned originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 18 May 2014 10:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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About Jonathon Ramsey