Flint's Buick City Complex Could Once Again See New Jobs, but There's a Catch

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
flints buick city complex could once again see new jobs but theres a catch

The closure of Flint, Michigan’s sprawling Buick City complex was emblematic of the [s]destructive[/s] transformative forces at work in the American auto industry in the late 20th century and early 21st. The 264-acre facility was once the largest automotive plant in the world, a status that did nothing to ensure its continued survival. It closed for good in 2010.

Now comes word that the birthplace of so many LeSabres could sprout manufacturing jobs in the near future — 2,000 of them. Great news for Michigan’s automotive workforce and Flint’s coffers, but the plan won’t get off the ground without the Postal Service’s approval.

Mahindra, maker of the Jeep-like Roxor ATV and other off-road vehicles, hopes to secure the $6 billion U.S. Postal Service delivery vehicle contract sought out by a group of challengers. Should that juicy contract land in the Indian company’s lap, Buick City is the site it wants, Crain’s Detroit Business reports.

Lacking sufficient space at its Auburn Hills facility, Mahindra stated in a release that the abandoned and partially demolished former GM complex is its first choice for an assembly site. The Postal Service wants a fleet of greener delivery trucks to take the place of its aging Grummans, but Mahindra faces stiff competition. Five other companies are vying for the 180,000-vehicle contract and the 20-year parts deal that comes with it.

While a revitalization of Buick City, which first opened in 1904, would be a boon for the area’s economy, it isn’t the only locale under consideration. The site search “will be driven in part by the financial incentives that are available from the State of Michigan,” the company stated.

“We have a long-term product plan and we believe the former Buick City site in Flint is a strong contender for what would essentially be Mahindra’s first large scale manufacturing operation in the United States,” said Rick Haas, president and CEO of Mahindra Automotive North America.

The company has signed a letter of intent to build a plant on the site. As for the contract, we should know the winner by year’s end.

[Image: Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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  • Geozinger Geozinger on Aug 09, 2019

    Back in Lordstown, the buzz is that Workhorse Vehicles will buy or lease the Cruze plant to build BEVs for the USPS. While there are a large number of hurdles for that to happen, I would say the largest is the Post Office actually awarding some company the contract. It looks like Mahindra is using a similar tactic, and targeting a former GM plant as part of the package. I guess we'll have to see who has better Congresscritters; Youngstown, Ohio or Flint, Michigan. Being somewhat familiar with both cities, I think it's a draw. Maybe Timmy Ryan can pull a few strings for the Valley in between his run for the Presidency.

    • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Aug 09, 2019

      @ Geozinger: "I guess we’ll have to see who has better Congresscritters." What a wonderful summary of the political process.

  • -Nate -Nate on Aug 09, 2019

    Subscribed, leaving for lunch now . -Nate

  • FreedMike All 35 units, eh?
  • Kwik_Shift Good looking wagon.
  • Kwik_Shift I'm kind of excited to check one out. Local dealers are anticipating 3 months for the first one to come in.
  • Jkross22 We're all being a little unfair to GM. It could be worse. They could have partnered with Microsoft to deliver RT - that wonderful tablet OS that couldn't run any legacy MS products - and brought it to the car. Or Win 95 and Clippy.
  • JMII The change could help GM better collect data from its drivers and passengers, and it could also be used as a foundation if GM decides to charge for subscription services.Could? Like the sun *could* set in the west today?Things didn't so well when BMW tried to charge for this service. This will go VERY badly for GM. Can you imagine the customer service calls?Customer: hello I am trying to hook up my phone to my new car but it isn't workingGM: we offer Google services nowCustomer: ok I use Google all the time, but how do get the stuff on my phone to show on the screen?GM: its doesn't work that way, your phone is not involved at all, just enter all your personal information again into our system and we will manage it for youCustomer: ummm... my [insert name of competitive vehicle here] doesn't work that way.GM: but we've made it easier for youCustomer: seriously, you don't support Apple nor Android? Guess I shouldn't have bought this POS, I'll be sure to tell all my friends to never buy a GM product, have a nice day.GM: ...This ultra-mega-dumb even for GM. I assumed if anything moving forward technology wise more OEMs would stop developing their own systems as a cost savings measure and just let the phone OS handle everything. Seems data collection is more important. Well as long as TikTok isn't installed we are safe right?