Mahindra plans to add about 110 engineering jobs at suburban Detroit tech center

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Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., which unsuccessfully tried to introduce its light trucks in the United States in 2006, plans to add about 110 engineering jobs at its technical center in suburban Detroit.

Michigan officials announced an expected $2 million capital investment on Monday. The center opened on March 13 and is part of Mahindra’s subsidiary, Mahindra North American Technical Center Inc.

“Michigan provided us the perfect ecosystem to step up our U.S. presence,” Mahindra Chairman Anand Mahindra said in the statement.

Rick Haas, COO of the North American Technical Center, said the unit focuses on architecture and platform designs for Mahindra. The company is planning a foray into global markets, and is using the center to develop prototypes and improve existing vehicles.

Mahindra’s primary technical center is in Chennai, India, and employs about 2,000, Haas said.

He said the U.S. center has 42 employees, mainly from Detroit and the West Coast, and plans to expand to about 150.

“The facility holds about 125 to 150,” Haas said. “We will fill the building up. The question is how fast.”

Haas said the company is focusing on growing and developing the Michigan center and does not plan to open more U.S. centers.

Mahindra sought to introduce its light trucks in the United States in 2006. According to court documents, the company received about $32 million from about 340 U.S. dealers in appointment or franchise fees.

A lawsuit filed by prospective dealers against the company alleged that Mahindra bypassed its promised delivery date in 2009 and ended its agreements in 2010. The would-be dealers are seeking restitution and damages from the company. In March, the prospective dealers lost their bid for class-action status in federal court. It was unclear how many planned to pursue individual lawsuits.

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