Mahindra Examines 2nd Michigan Plant For Potential Postal Contract

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
mahindra examines 2nd michigan plant for potential postal contract

Mahindra, the company that produces the intentionally Jeep-like Roxor, is looking at sites in Detroit, Oakland County, and Genesee County in the event that it lands a $6 billion contract to supply the U.S. Postal Service with delivery vehicles.

While USPS has already begun supplementing the now-ancient Grumman LLV with more-modern vans and utility vehicles, it launched an official search for a replacement in 2015. Mahindra was one of the finalists, along with AM General, Karsan, Oshkosh-Ford, Utilimaster, and VT Hackney.

The Postal Service plans on making a final decision this summer as to who will build some 180,000 replacement vehicles over the next six years.

According to Crain’s Detroit Business, Rick Haas, president and CEO of Mahindra Automotive North America, said he likes the company’s odds, acknowledging that the USPS’ decision will influence the direction it takes as an automaker.

“If we get a piece of that or all of that contract, that opens a bunch of doors, shuts a few other ones,” Haas said at a Troy Chamber of Commerce event from earlier this week. “If we don’t get it, it shuts some doors, opens some other ones. So we’re going to evaluate it all.”

Mahindra invested $22.3 million in a facility in Auburn Hills for assembly of its current Jeep CJ-based Roxor, renovating a former GM facility to use as a parts distribution center.

From Crain’s Detroit:

Haas told an audience of business executives and professionals that the automaker has six different products in development at the Mahindra North American Technical Center in Troy that could be paired with production of a postal service vehicle at a second manufacturing facility.

“The question is which ones do you start to push,” Haas said. “It’s going to depend on what happens over the summer.”

Haas declined to say which sites within Michigan the company is leaning toward. But he indicated they were all brownfield sites that need redevelopment.

Economic development officials from North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona and Wisconsin have all approached Mahindra about building a plant in their states, Haas said.

With the USPS making its decision relatively soon, Mahindra will have to make some quick decisions if it wins the contract. Haas indicated that the firm will likely need to settle on a manufacturing location by the end of 2019. He said the final choice will be based upon “ease of business, your personal loyalties and how much money are you going to make.”

[Image: Mahindra & Mahindra]

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  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 05, 2019

    Scoutdude--It depends where you live as to if the postal vehicles are parked in a fenced in area. Many postal vehicles are parked out in the open. Also you still have to make the battery serviceable so I don't know how you would make them harder to remove unless some kind of locking system could be installed to make it harder for thieves to remove. I do think eventually that electric vehicles will become more common but the battery technology has to be developed further.

    • See 2 previous
    • Scoutdude Scoutdude on May 05, 2019

      @mcs Per the link above 96% of their delivery vehicles travel less than 40 miles per day. 91% travel less than 30 mi per day and 69% less than 20 mi per day, at least at the time of that study. 16% are under 10mi per day, which gives a fair amount of room to use a battery that has lost the majority of its range.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on May 05, 2019

    I would be very surprised if the USPC went to an all electric fleet anytime soon. I would say if USPC goes to an electric fleet it would be better to start in a metropolitan area that has less distances to travel. Not all mail deliveries are 30 miles or less and that is why it would be better to start in a metropolitan area where that would be the case. I don't think it would be good to start rural mail delivery with electric vehicles--but I could see this working in a large metropolitan area. "Several labs have various electrode coating technologies that if they can actually get them into production at low costs, should easily get the density up to 1000 Wh/kg in a few years." Yes I have read about this but the current USPC bidding would not include that technology. It would probably be better if the USPC replaced their vehicles over a longer period of time and allowed enough flexibility to include a few electric vehicles where they could be better used and then expand the fleet of electric vehicles when the density of the batteries is increased. The problem with most Government contracts is that they bid on current technology and do not allow for flexibility. I know this first hand when the Government bids on replacement laptops it includes only the current technology and by the time the laptops are made and delivered they are out of date. It seems that the Government needs to add more flexibility to contracts to allow for newer improved technology.

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  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.