The former Buick City site in Flint, Michigan could be revived, this time building vehicles for India's Mahindra and Mahindra.

Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA) said it had signed a letter of intent with RACER Trust to evaluate the former Buick City site for a new manufacturing plant.

Its current factory in Auburn Hills, Michigan is at capacity, and a significant facility expansion is envisioned to support manufacturing and assembly of new products for the US market.

The plant would include production of mail delivery trucks should Mahindra be awarded the US Postal Service's (USPS) next generation delivery vehicle contract.

Mahindra is one of five companies short listed for the contract award, which is expected to be announced later this year. The plant would also house production for a number of future products that have not been announced publicly. It is projected the plant will create up to 2,000 jobs over the first five years with additional jobs to follow.

Mahindra also is in discussion with several other states that have suitable sites. The decision about where to make this substantial investment will be driven in part by the financial incentives that are available from the state of Michigan.

"Winning the USPS contract is a key element of our growth strategy but it's only a piece of what we have planned," said Rick Haas, president and CEO of Mahindra Automotive North America.

"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."

MANA launched the Roxor off-road work and recreational vehicle in 2018 in its Auburn Hills facility, which also serves as its North American corporate headquarters. The engineering team at MANA is leading the development of Mahindra's next generation global vehicle platform.

"While we're keeping our options open, we think the former Buick City site in Flint would be a great fit for us," said Haas. "It's close to our current facility, which improves overall enterprise efficiency, and the site is one of the oldest manufacturing sites in the United States with a long, storied automotive history. We look forward to working with RACER Trust, the City of Flint and the State of Michigan to fully determine whether this site represents our best opportunity to build Mahindra's automotive future here in North America."

MANA will continue to operate its current HQ and technical center in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

According to thedetroitbureau.com, RACER Trust (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust) was created in 2011 as part of the General Motors bankruptcy settlement in order to find new uses for abandoned GM facilities.

A number of those factories have been sold since then but the sprawling Flint site largely sits idle, several projects, including one for an 'eco industrial park' falling through. Another 33 acres of GM property were taken over by automotive supplier Lear which has opened a parts operation there.

The first plant on what became Buick City opened in 1903 and, in the 1980s, it became one of GM's largest and most important complexes, the automaker not only using it as the home for its Buick brand but as a test bed for the highly automated manufacturing processes it was developing. But production was sharply curtailed by the late 1990s and halted entirely in 2010, most of what was left of GM's operations there now demolished.

The cutbacks came as a major blow to the City of Flint, where GM was founded, especially with the automaker closing a number of other facilities in and around the city.

GM has made some new investments in the area in recent years, including a new, $65m parts distribution centre just opened.

In June, the automaker also said it would spend $150m to expand a Flint factory producing heavy duty pickups.