By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Mahindra has issued a press release denying reports that it will be building its pickup trucks in Alabama. In the press release, Mahindra calls the reports that Navistar has an agreement with Mahindra to assemble the Indian trucks near Muscle Shoals, “completely baseless & incorrect.”
The fan blog, Mahindra Planet, still insists that according to their sources Mahindra will begin production at the 2 million square foot plant which Navistar has leased from Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) within six months to have trucks on the market for the 2013 model year. The writers at the Mahindra Planet Blog report that Navistar will assemble Mahindra TR20 and TR40 pickup trucks from Indian-built components. Mahindra Planet speculates that Mahindra could also build an SUV at the factory.
Mahindra writes, “If and when there are any material developments. Mahindra and Mahindra Limited will communicate with them directly and transparently. Navistar signed a lease for the mile-long RSA-owned rail car factory in September and will take possession on January 1.
In its’ press release Navistar writes that “Alabama has proven to be a great place for the company to grow its business and intends to maximize the facility’s under-utilized fabrication equipment and other assets to cost effectively expand capabilities and options in North America. The company hopes to capture synergies and efficiencies given the close proximity to Navistar’s two engine plants in Huntsville. Navistar intends to finalize its initial operating and product plans for the facility in the coming months, and expects to disclose those details by year end.”
Whether Navistar builds Mahindra pickup trucks or more of its’ own commercial truck engines Alabama Governor Robert Bentley has said that this Colbert County project “has the potential to be one of the largest economic-development projects in the United States and will transform northwest Alabama.” This project will bring a large number of high-paying jobs that the people of northwest Alabama need and deserve. We are pleased to expand and strengthen our relationship with Navistar, and I appreciate their commitment to Alabama.”
Some reports say that this project could generate as many as 2,200 new jobs which would be an enormous victory for Governor Bentley who has pledged that his administration will work to lower Alabama’s unemployment rate.
The RSA loaned $625 million to the Canadian company, National Steel Car, in 1997 to employee 1800 workers building rail cars. By the time the factory was built, National Steel Car backed out of the deal leaving RSA with the massive factory. Since then RSA has employed 122 people to build rail cars there. Navistar has said that they will retain that existing work force.
Mahindra is a $12.5 billion diversified company based in Mumbai, India. Navistar and Mahindra have had a business relationship dating back to 1963.