September 2019

September 2019

New Jersey auto supplier to set up shop in South Carolina
CRP Industries will invest $2.5 million and move into a new 50,000-square-foot facility in Conway, S.C. The power steering systems manufacturer will create 115 jobs in the deal.

Ford to invest $550 million to upgrade the Louisville Assembly Plant
Detroit-based Ford Motor Co. will invest $550 million to install new equipment and modernize its Louisville Assembly plant where it makes the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair models. The investment coincides with a new generation of its high-selling Escape SUV. The new model will incorporate a variety of new technologies.

Honda plant in Alabama has huge economic ripple
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama contributed more than $12 billion in 2018 to the state’s economy. Along with its suppliers, Honda was responsible for more than 45,647 jobs in Alabama, according to an economic impact study released in August by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and the the Center for Business and Economic Research at The University of Alabama.

Auto parts supplier Faurecia opens plant in Missouri
Faurecia’s new 281,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Blue Springs, Mo., is now operational, making doors and dashboards for the Kansas City-made Ford F-150 pickup. The plant is operational, employing about 200 people, however at full buildout, plant employment is expected to top 400.

Toyota supplier to hire 900 in South Texas
Aisin AW, a maker of transmissions for Toyota and other automakers, is building a new plant in Guadalupe County, near San Antonio. The $400 million project will create 900 jobs. Toyota assembles pickup trucks in San Antonio.

Japanese auto parts supplier plans Tennessee plant
HIROTEC Group, a Japan-based global automotive supplier specializing in the production of body-in-white closures, exhaust systems, and closure manufacturing equipment, is investing in a new plant in Fayetteville, Tenn. The new plant will specialize in exhaust production and stamped parts. The $48 million plant will house 100 workers.

Japan-based auto supplier to build plant to serve Mazda-Toyota plant in Alabama
In the summer, Japan-based global automotive supplier Vuteq announced it is investing $60 million to open a new plant that will service Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A., in Huntsville, Ala. The company will produce interior and exterior plastic-injected parts. Mazda and Toyota are currently building their joint venture plant in the Southern Automotive Corridor. The Vuteq project is a $60 million investment that will create 200 jobs.

Hino Motors opens its new West Virginia plant
In the summer, Hino Motors Manufacturing U.S.A. opened its 1 million-square-foot plant in Mineral Wells, W.Va. The company is now making class 6, 7 and 8 conventional trucks. The plant’s capacity is 15,000 trucks per year and at opening, Hino announced a new $40 million expansion that will bring employment at the facility to 800 jobs.

A leading economic indicator? Sales of RVs are sliding.
The recreational vehicle industry is seeing slower sales, a warning sign that a recession is ahead. In every recession since 1980, RV sales tumbled just before the recessions were official. Shipments of RVs have fallen 20 percent so far this year according to the RV Industry Association. In an article in The Wall Street Journal this summer, an economist at Ball State University, Michael Hicks, said, “The RV industry is better at calling recessions than economists are.”

Last year was Alabama’s biggest year ever for foreign direct investment
Alabama has been incredibly successful at recruiting foreign companies to the state. Four foreign automakers operate OEMs in the state with another — Mazda Toyota — building an OEM manufacturing facility. Last year, Alabama saw a record set in foreign direct investment with companies from 16 different countries launching projects with more than 7,500 new jobs. Those announcements set an investment record of $4.2 billion in 2018.

North Carolina on short list to land Mahindra Automotive
Flint, Mich., and Greensboro, N.C., are among the cities in contention to land Mahindra Automotive North America’s second U.S. assembly plant and the 2,000 jobs it would bring. The India-based automaker’s current assembly plant in Auburn Hills, Mich., is at capacity, and a significant expansion is needed to produce new products for the U.S. market.

Italy-Based auto supplier expands Tennessee operations
Athena-SCE, an automotive supplier, will invest more than $3 million to expand operations in Mount Pleasant, Tenn. The company plans to create 36 additional jobs in Maury County to produce gaskets and other sealing devices for automotive and industrial applications.

Hennessey expands in Texas to prep for Venom F5 hypercar
Hennessey Performance Engineering in late July celebrated the groundbreaking of an expansion of its plant in Sealy, Texas, to accommodate increased demand for its tuned vehicles, as well as the upcoming Venom F5 hypercar.

Auto supplier expanding in Chattanooga
A German auto supplier is expanding its operations in Chattanooga, Tenn., which will become its North American headquarters. The $6 million investment will create another 100 jobs in Hamilton County. ATN Hoelzel LP provides robotic gluing equipment for the auto industry.

Motus Integrated Technologies breaks ground on $15 million Alabama plant
Motus Integrated Technologies recently broke ground on its $15 million, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Gadsden, Ala. The 96,000-square-foot facility will create nearly 100 jobs producing headliners, armrests and trim components for the auto industry. The new Gadsden facility will span more than two acres of land and is anticipated to be complete next year.

August 2019

August 2019

Toyota shifts production plans for Alabama plant being built
The Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. joint venture assembly plant in North Alabama, which is under construction, will now assemble a new SUV model instead of the Toyota Corolla. The new SUV doesn’t have a name yet. Construction of the $1.6 billion, 4,000-employee plant is still on schedule with plans to ramp up production in 2021, however that production will be delayed by the new model. Mazda is also going to build a new SUV at the plant and both automakers will now share components.

BMW’s latest expansion marks $10 billion invested in Upstate South Carolina plant
The ongoing $600 million expansion at BMW’s plant in Greer, S.C., means that the German automaker has invested $10 billion in the plant since 1994. The plant houses about 9,000 workers and makes BMW’s X models. A University of South Carolina study found that the sprawling Spartanburg County plant has had $16.6 billion in economic impact.

Mitsubishi is relocating its HQ from California to Tennessee
Mitsubishi Motors North America is relocating its headquarters to the Nashville area from California in a move that will strengthen the Japanese automaker’s financial ties to Nissan and bolster Tennessee’s stature as a major U.S. auto hub. The move this year will  bring 200 jobs to Franklin, Tenn., where Nissan operates its North American headquarters. The Japanese automaker will invest over $18 million in the relocation.

Big auto supplier announcement in Texas
AW Texas, a U.S. subsidiary of Japanese manufacturer Aisin AW, plans to establish a new plant on a 159-acre site in suburban San Antonio. The company is a manufacturer of drivetrains and transmissions and is a major supplier to Toyota, which assembles pickups in San Antonio. The $400 million project will create 900 jobs.

BMW supplier to expand in Virginia
BimmerWorld, a leading BMW parts supplier, will invest $1 million to expand its operation in Pulaski County, Va. The company is increasing warehouse space to accommodate a growing demand for parts.

Auto supplier expands in Alabama
Italy-based 2A S.p.A, is expanding its facility in Auburn, Ala. The $15 million project will create 50 jobs. The die-casting company has many customers, including Porsche, Volvo Trucks and Alfa Romeo.

Nashville-based Nissan to cut over 12,000 jobs
Nissan, which operates its North American headquarters in the Nashville MSA, is cutting nine percent of its global workforce. The Japanese automaker has reduced shifts at its plant near Jackson, Miss., and cut about 400 workers. At this time, no cuts are expected at its headquarters, engine plant and assembly plant in Middle Tennessee. However, 12,500 jobs will be eliminated worldwide and production capacity will be reduced by 10 percent. Nissan has seen a seven percent decline in sales from the same period of last year.

Automotive supplier announces new facility in Alabama
Tier 1 automotive supplier Motus Integrated Technologies is bringing 90 new jobs to Alabama with a $15 million-plus investment in a new manufacturing facility. The company is opening the plant in Gadsden, Ala.

Gerhardi opens first U.S. plant in Alabama
German auto supplier Gerhardi has opened its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Montgomery. The $41.6 million plant will employ up to 235 people to produce interior and exterior plastic automotive parts at the state-of-the-art injection molding, electroplating and assembly plant.

Toyota plans mega investment in Texas
Toyota is reportedly planning to spend as much as $398 million to optimize its San Antonio truck plant.

The plant, which builds the Tundra and Tacoma, will be reconfigured to boost production of the trucks. While the upgrades won’t result in any new jobs, the investment would boost the plant’s capabilities through the installation of additional robotics and other technologies. The automaker will likely add at least one vehicle model to the Tundra and Tacoma pickups already rolling off the assembly line.

Love’s Travel Stop will establish facility in Milan, Tenn.
Love’s Travel Stop will create a tire retread and distribution facility in Milan. . . the largest of its kind for Love’s, totaling 200,000 square feet. The company will invest $8.8 million and create up to 80 jobs.

Goodyear upgrades North Carolina plant
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company plans to upgrade and add equipment at its 50-year-old tire production plant in Fayetteville, N.C. In order to receive a grant from the state, Goodyear must make at least $180 million in capital improvements at the site and retain the 2,000 jobs currently in place.

Blue Bird opens paint facility in Fort Valley, Ga.
School bus manufacturer Blue Bird has made a significant investment to build a 60,000-square-foot bus painting facility which uses the latest in robotic technology at its assembly plant in Fort Valley. In keeping with the company’s mission of going green, the facility features a zero-to-landfill design. All paint overspray will be captured, dried and sent to a power generation plant to be used as fuel.

Top Automotive Deals in the South – Spring 2019

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

Announcements made in the Spring 2019 Quarter

CompanyJobsInvestmentN/ELocationDescription
1. YKTA650$220NLimestone Co., Ala.Auto parts
2. Ford500N/ANHouston, TexasCall center
3. Nucor450N/AEDarlington, S.C.Auto-grade steel
4. GM400N/AEBowling Green, Ky. Auto assembly
5. DaikyoNishikawa380$110NHuntsville, Ala.Auto parts
6. Dajcor Aluminum265$19NHazard, Ky. Automotive aluminum
7. Sundaram-Clayton230N/ANDorchester Co., S.C.Auto parts
8. Advanced Design180$10NLawrenceburg, Tenn.Auto parts
9. Hitachi Automotive100$100EMonroe, Ga.Auto parts
10. Daechang Seat100$9NPhenix City, Ala.Auto parts

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

Sources: RandleReport.com

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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