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WNC reportedly in the running for Mahindra auto plant

Western North Carolina is among the possible sites that Mahindra, the Indian automotive and tractor maker, could select for a plant that would employ 2,000 people, the Charlotte Observer reports.

 

Mahindra is seeking a site for its first large-scale manufacturing plant in the U.S, the Observer reported. A spokesman for Mahindra, Richard Ansell, told the Observer the company is looking at Western North Carolina, among many sites in the Carolinas, Michigan, Texas and Arizona.

Henderson County Manager Steve Wyatt and Brittany Brady, president of the Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, said they knew of nothing currently on the horizon involving Mahindra. Brady said she is aware of the company's current hunt for a manufacturing facility site. Given the amount of economic development incentives that would likely be involved, she said the recruiting would likely be coordinated by the state Commerce Department. The state offered more than $1.5 billion in tax breaks and other incentives in its unsuccessful recruitment of a Toyota-Mazda plant, the Raleigh News & Observer reported in January 2018.

Among other vehicles, the new Mahindra plant would manufacture mail delivery trucks if the company wins a contract from the U.S. Postal Service to make them. Michigan would appear to have the inside track for the plant. The company operates a technical center in Auburn Hills and it's looking at a former Buick plant in Flint, the Observer said. But the company has a presence in Henderson County, too. Two years ago Mahindra Vehicle Sales and Service Inc. announced that it was moving its corporate headquarters to Fletcher.

“A location in the southeastern automotive market, and the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains, is ideal for our company to accelerate our growth in the automotive sector," MVSS Vice President of Sales Luc de Gaspe Beaubien said at the time. "With great transportation assets like I-26 and the Asheville Regional Airport, we plan to cover a lot of ground from Henderson County."

The corporate office in Fletcher was set up to support planned growth as the company integrates new product into the U.S. market. The company said it would employ 22 people in Fletcher, primarily salespersons and office support functions, with average wages exceeding $100,000 a year, for a total annual payroll of $2.2 million. It leased an existing building at 37 Brickyard Road.