April 2018

For real-time news on business, politics and economic development in the South, go to www.RandleReport.com. For all economic development projects announced in the South, go to www.SB-D.com.

Nissan’s milestone in Mississippi

Nissan’s plant in Canton, Miss., produced its 4 millionth vehicle, a 2018 NV Cargo van, marking a major milestone for the facility that opened in 2003. To meet demand for the NV, the Japanese automaker is adding a second shift in April. About 250 jobs will be created or retained to staff the second shift.

Fitzgerald Industries to buy former Belden Plant in Monticello, Ky., create 250 jobs

Fitzgerald Industries, which manufactures aluminum dump truck beds, will locate in the former Belden plant in Monticello with a $6 million investment that will create 250 full-time jobs.

New business brings jobs to Marion County, S.C.

Marion County recently welcomed DMA Sales, a North Carolina-based auto parts manufacturer, as the company expands its business with a new facility in Mullins. This $5 million, 300,000-square-foot facility is the largest distribution center for DMA Sales, which manufactures shocks and struts for customers including Nissan and O’Riley Auto Parts, and will use the new facility to store and supply those parts. The new facility will bring DMA Sales’ staff to 34 full-time employees over the next several months.

Auto supplier Yorozu opens Jasper, Ala., Plant

Auto parts maker Yorozu marked the grand opening of its $110 million manufacturing plant in Walker County, where hiring has been ramping up and will continue to grow. The Tier 1 automotive supplier produces metal stamped suspension components for automakers including Honda, Toyota and Nissan.

Magna South Carolina plant to supply BMW

Headquartered in Ontario, Canada, Magna will supply seats to BMW Group for the first time with the opening of its seat-manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County, S.C. At the recent grand opening, Magna also announced an $8 million expansion of the plant, which will add 25,000 square feet and an additional 130 jobs, bringing the total workforce to 610 jobs at the facility, which will supply seats for BMW X5, X6 and X7 models.

Corvid Technologies expands HQ in Mooresville, N.C.

Engineering firm Corvid Technologies, which provides physics-based engineering solutions for the defense, automotive, aircraft, and biomedical industries, will invest $28.9 million to locate its headquarters and create 367 new jobs in Iredell County. Salaries will average $100,000.

Over 170 new jobs in Loudon, Tenn.

Morgan Olsen is immediately hiring over 170 positions. The company produces walk-in vans and is looking to quickly fill these positions after being awarded a “record-breaking” contract for over 6,000 vans.

Dorman Products plans hub in Portland, Tenn.

Dorman Products will invest more than $55 million to expand its operations in Robertson County, Tenn. The Pennsylvania-based automotive parts manufacturer plans to establish a new production and distribution facility and create approximately 215 jobs.

Magna Plant expanding in Spartanburg County, S.C.

Magna International, which is headquartered in Canada, will be expanding its automotive seat manufacturing plant in the Upstate and creating 130 new jobs.

Volvo Cars gears up for mass hiring in South Carolina

Volvo Cars has begun producing prototypes of its new S60 sedan to prepare for full production by the end of the year in Berkeley County. The test cars (not to be sold) help new hires learn how to make the vehicles before producing them in real time.

Volkswagen announces $340 million Chattanooga investment

Volkswagen announced plans to build a third model at its Chattanooga plant, representing a $340 million investment in addition to the $900 million already invested to expand the plant for Atlas production. Beginning in the last quarter of 2019, the plant will make a five-seat SUV based on its Atlas, a seven-seat vehicle that’s already built in Chattanooga. Volkswagen currently employs 3,500 people at the plant, and that number could grow based on sales of the new SUV.

Mercedes-Benz to add innovation lab in Atlanta

Mercedes-Benz will open an innovation lab, named Lab1886, in metro Atlanta, a surprise announcement that came as the German automaker opened its new North American headquarters in Sandy Springs. Lab1886, a reference to the year the founders of Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler Group, built the first automobile powered by an internal combustion engine, will help fast-track projects and services from design to market.

German auto supplier opens $46.3 million plant in Alabama

MöllerTech, a German auto supplier, has opened a $46.3 million plant in Bibb County. Company officials say 222 employees will be hired at the new supply plant by the end of 2019.

Truck & Wheel Group opens $30 million Alabama wheel assembly plant

Spain-based auto supplier Truck & Wheel Group opened a new 127,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that will supply wheel assemblies for automakers in the Southeast. The $30 million project will create more than 70 jobs.

Fastener company planning $45 million plant upgrade in Waco

Arconic Fastening Systems & Rings, a maker of heavy-duty fasteners used on trucks and rail cars, plans a $44.8 million upgrade of its plant. The Waco City Council has endorsed Arconic’s request to participate in the Texas Enterprise Zone program that could allow the plant to receive a $2,500 rebate for each of its 403 employees. The Governor’s Office for Economic Development and Tourism must approve the request before Arconic qualifies to receive sales tax rebates on $41.3 million in equipment and machinery upgrades, as well as $3.5 million in facility improvements.

Denso invests millions, adds 320 jobs in Tennessee

Automotive supplier Denso announced a $190 million investment in its Athens, Tenn., facility that will add four new production lines and 320 jobs focused on electrification and safety systems.

Waymo picks Atlanta for self-driving truck pilot

Self-driving big rigs are rumbling into Atlanta as Waymo, the self-driving unit of Google-parent Alphabet, will launch a pilot in Atlanta where its electric blue self-driving trucks will carry cargo bound for Google’s data centers, including a 2 million-square-foot server farm in Lithia Springs, Ga. The company believes self-driving technology will cut down on driver fatigue and keep trucks on the road longer.

Smyrna’s Topre America announces 50 new jobs

Topre America Corp. has announced plans to expand its existing facility in Smyrna, Ga., representing a $37.8 million capital investment and the creation of 50 jobs. Topre America provides automotive stamping and body structure assemblies for Nissan, Honda and Toyota.

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Michael Randle

Author: Michael Randle