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Detroit’s closed Southwestern High School will be redeveloped as part of a manufacturing complex, including a worker training center. City officials claimed Sakthi Automotive Group USA selected the site over locations in Ohio, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Auto Parts Supplier Eyes Detroit Casting, Training Center

May 19, 2015
$31.9-million aluminum diecasting project would supply growing automotive demand in North America India’s Sakthi Group subsidiary Performance-based grants tied to job creation Accelerating 2012 expansion plan

Indian conglomerate Sakthi Group plans to move some aluminum diecasting production to a site in Detroit, which it will develop with help from two state-backed development funds.

Sakthi Automotive Group USA Inc. plans a $31.9 million expansion and development of its current operation in Detroit, where it occupies a former ArvinMeritor plant.  Several adjacent sites and buildings, including a former public high school, will be developed for new manufacturing, worker training, and human resource programs.

The timing and other details of its metalcasting project were not made available. Illustrations of the site plan show an 80-100,000-ft2 casting and warehouse facility, and a 10,000-ft2 machining shop.

Sakthi Auto Component Limited is one subsidiary of a multidimensional conglomerate that includes industrial and consumer products. In India, it casts aluminum automotive and commercial vehicle parts, including steering knuckles, brake drums, brake discs, hubs, brake calipers, carriers, differential cases, and manifolds.

Castings for commercial vehicle manufacturing and oil-and-gas refineries are exported to the U.S., though the group aims to establish aluminum casting production at the Michigan site.

Sakthi acquired the plant in 2012 for $7.6 million, with a $1.5 million Michigan Business Development Program incentive from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.  Now, MEDC and the Michigan Strategic Fund are providing a $3.5-million, “performance-based grant” for the new expansion that is anticipated to create 350 new jobs.

In addition, the city of Detroit and MEDC will recommend that the expansion site should be designated as a Renaissance Zone, which would deliver benefits like property, income, and utility tax waivers.

Lalit Verma, Sakthi Automotive CEO for its U.S. and China operations, said the company is speeding up its original growth plan, from 2012, because of the steady expansion of the North American automotive market and its ongoing need for more component suppliers.