India-based auto supplier Sakthi Automotive Group on Monday broke ground on a new multi-million-dollar manufacturing facility in southwest Detroit.
The planned 180,000-square-foot, $30 million plant at 6921 W. Fort is part of a larger campus encompassing the former Southwestern High School building and American Mailers Building. The manufacturing plant is expected to open in March and will employ 350 workers, including some ex-convicts returning to the workforce after incarceration.
Sakthi executives were joined by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, delegates from Mexico and executives from General Motors Co. and others.
“It’s a special day,” Duggan said Monday. “Everything about this city’s recovery starts with jobs. This city is not going to be what it should be unless everybody’s included in that comeback, and if you look at what’s happening here, it’s remarkable.”
Sakthi has already hired 25 ex-convicts through a partnership with Focus Hope that trains them for manufacturing jobs.
“A lot of times your most dedicated workers ... the ones who show up and don’t miss work are the ones that have the hardest time getting back on their feet,” Duggan said.
Sakthi is a Tier 1 supplier of safety components to auto companies including GM and Ford Motor Co. They build components that go in vehicle suspension systems.
Sakthi landed a small job with GM in 2003. Since then its role has expanded to be one of the main suspension knuckle suppliers to the Detroit automaker’s vehicles worldwide.
Sakthi parts will be on the new Camaro and the upcoming Cadillac CT6.
“Our product portfolio is the best it’s ever been, and we can’t do that without our great suppliers,” said Steve Kiefer, GM’s vice president of global purchasing and supply chain.
“We would expect Sakthi Group will be one of our most strategic suppliers in the area of suspension knuckles by 2020. That’s incredible progress in a very short time.”