July 2019

July 2019

Auto industry cutting jobs at the fastest pace since the financial crisis
According to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., automakers are laying off employees at the fastest pace since the Great Recession. In the first four months of 2019, automakers had dismissed 19,802 workers. That is more than triple the 6,451 layoffs in the first four months of 2018.

Auto parts manufacturer picks Alabama city for new plant
South Korea-based Daechang Seat Company has chosen Phenix City, Ala., for a new auto parts plant. The plant will be a $9 million capital investment and will house 100 workers.

Navistar plans $125 million Alabama project
Navistar, a commercial truck and bus manufacturer, is investing $125 million in its plant in Huntsville, Ala. The investment is being made to produce next-generation big-bore powertrains. The project will create 145 jobs.

UAW loses at Chattanooga’s Volkswagen plant
VW workers at its plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., voted against joining the United Auto Workers in June. Employees voted 833 to 776 to reject the union over concerns that the German automaker would not expand the plant.

Volvo makes record investment in Pulaski County, Va.
Volvo Trucks is planning to invest $400 million to expand its Virginia factory over the next six years, increasing employment capacity by 777 people. The company is already the largest private-sector employer in the region, and now – after what state leaders are calling the largest capital investment in the history of Southwest Virginia – it will be able to accommodate roughly 4,000 workers at its height.

Mitsubishi bringing North American HQ to Tennessee
After 20 years in California, Mitsubishi is moving its North American headquarters — all corporate departments — to Franklin, Tenn., in a move that will bring the Japanese automaker closer to its sister company Nissan. The automaker is bringing about 200 jobs as part of its $18.25 million investment.

CarMax bringing 300 new jobs to Peachtree Corners, Ga.
CarMax has officially opened its new Customer Experience Center in Peachtree Corners. The company will now hire over 300 new employees to assist customers over the phone and online.

GM pumping millions into its Texas plant
GM announced a $20 million upgrade to its Arlington Assembly plant in North Texas in preparation for the launch of GM’s new full-size sports utility vehicles. GM builds the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and the Cadillac Escalade at Arlington plant. “We’ve been building trucks in Texas for more than 20 years,” said Gerald Johnson, GM executive vice president of Global Manufacturing. “We are counting on the Arlington team to continue focusing on building the highest quality products possible for our customers while preparations continue for the launch of the next generation of our full-size SUVs.”

CMWA increases expansion budget to $112 million in Paris, Ky.
Central Motor Wheel of America in Paris, Ky., will more than double its expansion project to $111.9 million and create 145 full-time jobs. . .60 more than initially anticipated.

Joint venture expanding operations in Opelika, Ala.
West Fraser, one of the largest lumber manufacturers in the United States, plans to invest an additional $43 million to construct a new planer mill, which will increase its manufacturing capabilities. Hanwha will invest an additional $32 million and create 128 new jobs. Hanwha manufactures high-quality lightweight composite materials and auto parts.

Car parts maker to expand in Botetourt County, Va.
Metalsa Structural Products plans to expand its Botetourt County manufacturing facility and create 25 new jobs. The company, which manufactures parts for commercial vehicles, will invest $6.4 million in its Cloverdale facility. The plant already employs more than 230 workers, but needed to expand to meet increased demand. The company also considered Mexico for the project.

AutoZone to add 130 jobs in Memphis, Tenn.
A unit of AutoZone wants to expand, adding 130 jobs and a capital investment of $145 million in Memphis. More than 100 of the jobs would pay an average of $77,000 a year. AutoZone Parts says it is investing in a digital, retail and commercial expansion that will enhance its presence in the automotive aftermarket industry. The company has purchased a block of historic buildings across the street from its main headquarters, with almost 60,000 square feet. AutoZone was founded in Memphis in 1979 and currently has 6,200 stores, 90,000 employees and ranks in the Fortune 500 with $11.2 billion in sales in 2018.

June 2019

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama celebrates grand opening of new cylinder head machining plant in Montgomery
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and other elected officials joined Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA), in a celebration of the grand opening of HMMA’s cylinder head machining plant. The new plant is the third facility at HMMA to support production of more than 650,000 engines per year. The plant represents a $388 million total investment to manufacturing engine cylinder heads and also to enhance existing operations to support the production of new Sonata and Elantra sedan models. This investment also created 50 new jobs.

Dajcor Aluminum to create 265 full-time jobs in Eastern Kentucky
Gov. Matt Bevin announced in the spring quarter that Dajcor Aluminum, a Canadian manufacturer of aluminum products, plans to create up to 265 full-time jobs as it invests nearly $19.6 million to locate its first U.S. operation near Hazard, Ky.

Japan-Based DaikyoNishikawa plans Huntsville, Ala., assembly plant
Japan-based DaikyoNishikawa U.S. plans to invest $110 million to open an auto parts manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Ala. The project will serve the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. assembly plant now under construction. The project will create 380 jobs to produce plastic automotive parts.

Mercedes may move sedan production back to Germany to focus on more SUVs at Alabama plant
For over 20 years, Germany-based Mercedes-Benz has made SUVs exclusively at its sprawling assembly plant in Vance, Ala. In 2014, the automaker experimented with adding the C-Class sedan model to its Alabama plant, even closing a plant in Germany to do so. Now Mercedes is considering shifting sedan production back to Germany or to another plant so it can focus on producing more SUVs and light trucks, which have become ever-more popular in the U.S. than sedans. In fact, 60 percent of Mercedes’ U.S. sales — built in the U.S. or abroad — are SUVs and crossovers. Sources have maintained that Mercedes will move C-Class sedan production back to Germany by fall 2020. The 6-million-square-foot plant in Vance, Ala., is working at 93 percent capacity and Mercedes expects that to improve once all vehicles made at the facility are SUVs and crossovers. In addition to Alabama, the C-Class model is made in Germany, South Africa and China.

Cree investing up to $1 billion in North Carolina
Cree will increase its capacity at its silicon carbine fabrication facility in Durham, N.C. When the new addition to its facility is up and running in 2024, Cree will substantially increase its silicon carbide materials and wafer capacity used in the automotive, communications and industrial markets.

Canadian auto supplier sets up shop in Tennessee
Hematite will invest $11.5 million to locate a production facility in Fayetteville, Tenn. The company manufactures precision parts from recycled materials that primarily deal with acoustics in vehicles. The project will create 70 jobs.

Auto supplier lands in Augusta, Ga.
Spain-based Acoustics and Insulation Techniques, a manufacturer of audio insulation for the automotive and construction industries, will create 45 jobs and invest $12 million in its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Augusta, Ga. The company supplies its products to BMW, Mercedes and Volvo, among other automakers.

Volvo expects to hire 2,500 more workers in South Carolina within a few years
Volvo Cars expects to hire 2,500 more employees to build the next generation XC90 SUV in 2022. Hiring will begin in 2020. The plant, which assembles the S60 sedan, is only making about 50,000 vehicles in its first year. That figure has dropped dramatically considering about half of the S60s made in the first and second years were to be exported to China. The trade tariffs have snuffed that plan out for now. By 2022, the plant is expected to house about 4,000 workers and an annual unit output of about 150,000 vehicles.

German auto parts supplier relocating plant from California to Texas
Germany-based Wagner Tuning will locate a parts plant in Kilgore, Texas, from California. The company is investing over $6 million in the facility that will house 30 workers.

Auto supplier to expand Alabama facility
In the spring, Sejin America announced plans to spend $15 million on new machines and add 36 jobs to the payroll at its Dadeville facility. The company makes small automobile components for manufacturers such as Hyundai, Kia and Mercedes.

Ford establishing new call center in Houston
Michigan-based automaker Ford is opening a new call center in Houston, and it’s looking to fill more than 500 positions. The center will mainly focus on helping people who own Ford trucks.

GM to hire 400 workers to build C8 Corvette in Kentucky
General Motors says it will add more than 400 hourly jobs to fill a second shift at its Bowling Green Assembly plant in Kentucky to build the long-awaited mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette C8, which will launch as a 2020 model. The hiring plans mean total employment at the plant will rise to more than 1,300. Since 2011, GM said it has invested more than $900 million in the plant, which has built the Corvette since it opened in 1981.

Advanced Design Solutions creating 180 jobs in Tennessee
Advanced Design Solutions will invest $10 million and create nearly 180 jobs in Lawrenceburg, Tenn. The auto supplier will locate its operations in part of the former Murray Ohio Manufacturing Company facility.

Texas anxiously awaits Toyota’s June 30 decision
Toyota will decide by June 30 whether it will plow $392 million into upgrades at its San Antonio truck plant or at one of its other manufacturing facilities in North America. Local officials, who have put together incentive packages to try to win over Toyota, are watching anxiously.

Advanced Design Solutions creating 180 jobs in Tennessee
Advanced Design Solutions will invest $10 million and create nearly 180 jobs in Lawrenceburg, Tenn. The auto supplier will renovate and locate its operations in part of the former Murray Ohio Manufacturing Company facility.

Auto supplier expanding in Lincoln County, N.C.
Tenowo, a nonwoven textiles company that makes products for automakers, is expanding again in the Charlotte region. The company will make a $4.5 million investment in new equipment and perhaps expand its huge facility there.

Nucor upgrading steel plant in South Carolina
Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor Corp. is expanding the product capacity of its bar mill in Darlington, S.C., to allow production of higher-grade steel for the automotive market and other specialty uses. Nucor is not disclosing the costs of the project, and the project will not mean any additional employment at the site, which now provides about 450 jobs.

Hitachi Automotive makes $100 million expansion in Monroe, Ga.
Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, a global supplier of automotive parts, has announced a massive, multi-year expansion of its manufacturing plant in Monroe, approximately 45 miles east of Atlanta. Hitachi will invest anywhere from $100 million to $330 million in expanding its existing facility. The project is expected to bring an additional 100 jobs to Walton County.

E-N-G Mobile Systems chooses Fayetteville, N.C.
E-N-G Mobile Systems, a California-based company, will invest $2.3 million to build a manufacturing facility and create 60 jobs in Cumberland County. E-N-G builds specialized vehicles, including those for electronic news gathering and mobile labs.

Auto parts manufacturer opens in Dorchester County, S.C.
A new auto parts manufacturer recently opened its doors in Dorchester County. India-based Sundaram-Clayton’s first plant in the U.S., will make aluminum die-cast parts for several different global auto brands. The facility is expected to generate 230 new jobs.

Top Automotive Deals in the South – Winter 2019

The Southern Auto Corridor’s 10 Largest New and Expanded Manufacturing and Selected Non-Manufacturing Job Announcements

Announcements made in the Winter 2019 Quarter

CompanyJobs$InvN/ELocationDescription
1. Ford550N/AELouisville, Ky. Auto assembly
2. Toyota450$288EHuntsville, Ala.Engines
3. Mercedes-Benz200N/AELadson, S.C.Auto assembly
4. Sangsin Technology200$20NMcDonough, Ga. Brakes
5. Yongsan Automotive150$5NOpelika, Ala. Auto parts
6. Toyota123$111EBuffalo, W.Va.Hybrid transaxles
7. Super ATV75$4NShreveport, La. ATV parts
8. Fuyao North America70$16NFountain Inn, S.C.Automotive glass
9. Arconic70$100EAlcoa, Tenn. Automotive aluminum
10. Togo North America58$11NRobertson Co., Tenn.Auto parts

($Inv. = Investment in millions – N=New; E=Expansion; R=Relocation)

Sources: RandleReport.com

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May 2019 News

Bendix gains approval for possible expansion in Kentucky

Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake could be expanding its plant in Bowling Green’s South Industrial Park again. Bendix is considering a total investment of $65 million in its facility, which produces parts used in air brake systems for commercial vehicles.

Michelin opens enormous distribution center in South Carolina

Michelin North America has opened its largest distribution center in the world in Greenville, S.C. At a cost of $270 million, it spans 45 football fields with the capacity to move four million tires a year and employ 350. The company began building the center in November 2016, and as of April 2019, it is fully operational.

GM Bowling Green Corvette plant to add 400 jobs

General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra announced the company’s plans to add a second shift and more than 400 new employees at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant in preparation to build the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette later this year. 

McNeilus Steel locates in Morristown, Tenn.

McNeilus Steel will establish a new manufacturing facility in Morristown, creating 72 jobs over the next five years. The company will invest $18.8 million to build a 100,000-square-foot facility to fabricate metal parts for OEMs in the Southeast.

Horton Holding creating 125 jobs in South Carolina

Horton Holding, a manufacturer of engine-cooling solutions for trucks and buses, will locate new operations in Oconee County, creating 125 new jobs. The company’s new, 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility is expected to come online in early 2020.

Continental Tire plant expanding again in South Carolina

Continental Tire recently broke ground on a new expansion at its growing Sumter facility. The expansion, which will provide capabilities to produce the company’s ContiSeal puncture-sealing and ContiSilent noise-absorbing passenger tire lines, comes during the ramp-up of the second of two major growth phases at the Sumter facility. The new business unit, which isn’t directly related to either phase, will add about another 50 jobs by 2020. Investment figures weren’t disclosed.

Russia-based aluminum producer partners in Kentucky mill

RUSAL, a Russia-based global aluminum producer, and Braidy Industries, a U.S.-based holding company, plans to establish a joint project in Ashland, Ky. The $200 million facility will produce flat rolled aluminum products for the U.S. automotive industry. The deal requires approval from the boards of both companies.

Italian electronics firm expands in Gwinnett County, Ga.

Elemaster U.S. has opened an expanded electronic equipment design center and manufacturing plant in Duluth, a $3 million investment that could spur a doubling of the company’s local workforce. The Milan, Italy-based maker of printed circuit boards for rail, automotive, avionics, medical and other applications now employs 40 at the new site, with the goal of hiring 20 more workers by the end of this year and perhaps 50 more by the close of 2020.

New auto supplier in Athens, Ala., will hire 400

Toyota Boshoku America will invest over $50 million to open a manufacturing facility in Limestone County, Ala. The facility will produce seat systems for vehicles built at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant in Huntsville. The new Athens plant is expected to create around 400 jobs.

Piston Automotive expands Kentucky operations

Auto components supplier Piston Automotive will invest $1.5 million for an expansion of its operation in Louisville. The company plans to create 50 full-time jobs.

April 2019

Six million dollar investment expands automotive in Enterprise, Ala.
A $6 million investment in the HSAA/HSAU factories in Enterprise will bring over 160 jobs to the Wiregrass area. The HSAU factory serves as a tier one supplier of air conditioning hoses for Chrysler vehicles. The company’s senior manager Garry Jordan said the investment will now allow these parts to be made for Hyundai, Kia and General Motors vehicles. “This is gonna put us on the map because we are gonna do Denso, which is a global parts supplier,“ Jordan said.

Massive Georgia battery factory breaks ground
Korea-based SK Group broke ground recently on its sprawling $1.7 billion factory to supply batteries for electric vehicles. The deal is expected to bring 2,000 jobs to Jackson County, northeast of Atlanta, making it the largest economic development deal in Georgia since Kia Motors opened in West Point a decade ago. The company will initially provide batteries for Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga.

Toyota plant adds 450 jobs in North Alabama
Over 450 new jobs are coming to the Toyota plant in Huntsville. The company just announced two new engine lines for the Huntsville Engine Manufacturing Plant. The added jobs are the largest hiring event in the plant’s history. Toyota and Mazda also are building an auto manufacturing plant just outside Huntsville. That facility in Limestone County is expected to employ up to 4,000 people.

Toyota expanding West Virginia facility with 123 jobs
Toyota Motor Manufacturing facility in Putnam County, W.Va., plans to double its hybrid transaxle capacity with a $111 million investment in its West Virginia plant, which includes a building expansion and the addition of the 123 jobs.

Hyundai supplier expanding in Alabama
A Korean company that supplies Hyundai and Kia plants in Alabama and Georgia is planning a multi-million-dollar expansion in Conecuh County, Ala. Guyoung Tech USA is expanding its production line and building a new welding facility in the former Gerber Distribution building in Evergreen. The company plans to hire at least 45 employees over the first three years and reach 90 to 100 employees in five years.

Moody’s cuts automotive industry from stable to negative
Credit rating company Moody’s has cut its outlook for the automotive industry from stable to negative. Moody’s based its outlook on slowing economic growth, potential political issues, such as tariffs, and a better-than-expected end to 2018 in vehicle sales. Moody’s expects global auto sales to grow by just 0.5 percent this year, down from its previous forecast of 1.2 percent growth.

Toyota to invest $749 million and add hundreds of jobs in the South
In the winter quarter, Japanese automaker Toyota said it will invest $749 million in five Southern states and add 600 jobs. The company will increase engine capacity in Alabama, transaxle production in West Virginia, add capacity at its assembly plant in Kentucky, and raise output of aluminum castings in Missouri and Tennessee. Toyota is also building a 4,000-employee plant with Mazda in Huntsville, Ala.

Mercedes-Benz to assemble ultraluxe Maybach SUV at Alabama plant
Mercedes announced in the winter quarter that it will expand its plant in Vance, Ala., to build a luxury SUV under the Maybach brand. At $200,000, the vehicle will be the most expensive passenger car built in the U.S. The company is also in the early stages of a $1 billion upgrade to ready the facility to build its first electric vehicles.

Korean brake manufacturer to open new Georgia facility
Sangsin Technology America, a manufacturer of brakes used by Hyundai and Kia, is opening a new plant in McDonough, Ga. The $20 million project will create 200 jobs.

Ford expanding Louisville Truck Plant
Ford will add capacity of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator at its truck plant in Louisville, Ky. Ford will move 550 workers from its Louisville SUV plant to the truck plant in the deal.

Israeli auto parts supplier expanding in Auburn, Ala.
Arkal Automotive has invested $2.5 million and is adding 25 jobs to expand its Auburn facility. The company supplies plastic parts to Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volkswagen and Audi.

Korean auto supplier setting up shop in Alabama
A Korean supplier to Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of Alabama plans to open its first U.S. facility in Alabama’s Lee County. Yongsan Automotive USA is investing more than $5.5 million in a manufacturing facility in Opelika. The interior parts manufacturer will create 150 jobs in the deal.

Super ATV to locate in Louisiana
SuperATV will locate a manufacturing and distribution facility in Shreveport, La. The company manufactures aftermarket parts for a variety of all-terrain vehicles. The $4.35 million deal will  create 75 jobs.

Toyota Motor Corp. will invest $238 million in its Georgetown, Ky., plant
Toyota is expanding its Kentucky assembly plant and adding the production of the Lexus 300h Hybrid and the RAV4 Hybrid. Both vehicles feature combined gasoline and electric engine power. The project calls for an investment of $238 million. The expansion will not add jobs to the 8,000-employee plant.

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