May 2018

For real-time news on business, politics and economic development in the South, go to For all economic development projects announced in the South, go to

South Korean manufacturer to build new plant in West Tennessee

Dong-A USA, an automotive and appliance supplier, will invest $13 million in a new plant in Martin,Tenn. The South Korean company makes rubber and plastic components. The deal will create 200 new jobs.

Big automotive parts supplier opens Alabama plant

Samvardhana Motherson Peguform (SMP) has officially opened its new 700,000-square-foot plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The company has invested $150 million in the facility and the plant already houses 320 workers. Plans are to hire up to 1,000.

General Motors returns to three shifts at Tennessee plant

GM will add a third shift that it took down in November at its plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. The third shift will add about 1,000 jobs. GM added the shift because of high demand for its GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5 models.

Plant coming to Vidalia, La. 

Syrah Resources announced in the spring it will build a $25 million graphite processing facility in Vidalia, La. The plant will produce graphite anode materials for batteries in electric vehicles and other products. The Australian company will hire 55 workers in the deal.

Toyota creating hundreds of jobs at Mississippi plant

Toyota announced in the spring quarter it is investing $170 million at its Blue Springs, Miss., assembly plant to add capacity. The Japanese automaker builds the Corolla model there. The deal will create 400 jobs.

Alabama sees record 15,000 new manufacturing jobs in 2017

In calendar year 2017, 15,465 manufacturing jobs were created in Alabama with a record investment total of $4.41 billion. The automotive and aerospace sectors led the way followed by forest products and food production.

Constuction begins on Mazda-Toyota plant in Alabama on October 1

Constuction on Huntsville, Ala.’s $1.6 billion Mazda-Toyota plant is scheduled to start on October 1, according to Gov. Kay Ivey. The plant is expected to house 4,000 workers.

Chinese tire plant gets bigger

Last year, China-based Triangle Tire announced a $582 million, 800-employee tire plant at the Kingsboro CSX Select Megasite in Edgecombe County, N.C. In the spring quarter, company officials raised those numbers to just over $1 billion and between 1,100 and 1,200 jobs at the unbuilt plant.

Commercial truck facility adding jobs in Kentucky

E-Z Pack Refuse Hauling Solutions, a maker of commercial trucks, is investing $6.85 million in its plant in Harrison County, Ky. The deal will create about 100 jobs.

Port of Mobile signs MOU to ship vehicles 

The Alabama State Port Authority is partnering with a joint venture from South America to build and operate a facility that enables vehicles to be driven on and off of ships at the Port of Mobile. The joint venture is called AutoMobile International Terminal. An automobile handling center at the Port of Mobile would clearly be an advantage to Alabama’s three operating auto assembly plants — Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Honda — as well as the Mazda-Toyota joint venture assembly plant in Huntsville that begins construction in October. The new terminal could create 600 or more jobs.

Autocar opens $120 million plant in Birmingham

Autocar, a manufacturer of concrete trucks and garbage trucks, has opened it $120 million plant in Birmingham at a 1.3 million-square-foot facility, a former Meadowcraft Complex. The company currently employs 746 workers.

Auto parts supplier plans South Carolina plant

Germany-based Paul Bippus GmbH, a manufacturer of precision parts, is opening a plant in Summerville, S.C. The $16 million facility will supply parts to the nearby Robert Bosch plant. The deal will create 45 jobs.

Nucor completes latest Arkansas expansion

In the spring quarter, Nucor Steel Arkansas completed its $230 million cold mill expansion. The company makes steel for the automotive industry near Blytheville, Ark., and is one of the largest employers in Mississippi County. About 100 jobs will be added at the mill.

Tire maker joint venture picks Atlanta for HQ

A new joint venture between two global tire makers is locating it headquarters in Atlanta. Goodyear and Bridgestone have created TireHub, a tire distribution joint venture. The new company will attempt to meet the growing demand for larger rim diameter premium tires. The new headquarters in Atlanta will house 150 workers.

Volvo’s South Carolina plant nears opening

Volvo is nearing the opening of its plant in Berkeley County, S.C. Production is expected to begin this summer. Like everyone else, Volvo is struggling to fill its employment goals at the plant, which at its height will be 4,000 workers at the $1.2 billion facility.

Big deal in Northeast Tennessee

Belgian-based Van Hool NV, a manufacturer of buses, coaches and industrial vehicles, will establish its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Morristown, Tenn. The family-owned company plans to invest $47 million to build a 500,000-square-foot facility in Morristown’s East Tennessee Progress Center. About 640 jobs will be created in the deal.

Two foreign companies adding 100-plus jobs in Charlotte region

Tokyo-based Yokohama Tire will open a research and development facility in Cornelius, adding 56 jobs and nearly $5.9 million in investment, while Kurz, a hot stamping and coating technology company based in Furth, Germany, will build a new $18 million North American headquarters in Huntersville and hire 90 new positions by 2022.

ATLASBX locating first U.S. manufacturing facility in Tennessee

ATLASBX  will locate its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Clarksville, Tenn. The automotive battery manufacturer will invest $75 million and create approximately 200 jobs in Montgomery County.

Manufacturer Dhollandia building $30 million North Carolina facility

Belgium-based manufacturer Dhollandia broke ground in Gaston County, N.C., on what will become the company’s first manufacturing facility in the United States. The new 160,000-square-foot facility, which will manufacture hydraulic lift gates for trucks, is expected to create up to 200 new jobs.

Auto supplier Yorozu opens Jasper, Ala., plant

Auto parts maker Yorozu recently marked the grand opening of its $110 million manufacturing plant in Walker County, where hiring has been ramping up and will continue to grow to 300. The Tier 1 automotive supplier produces metal stamped suspension components for automakers including Honda, Toyota and Nissan.

Fitzgerald Industries opens Kentucky plant

Fitzgerald Industries II, which manufactures aluminum dump-truck beds, will locate in the former Belden plant in Monticello, Ky. The company plans to invest $6 million and create 250 full-time jobs.

Adient to invest $10.8 million in Tennessee

Adient will invest $10.8 million in its Lexington facility and create 200 new jobs. The automotive seating and interior systems manufacturer plans to upgrade its facility by installing equipment and expanding production in Henderson County, Tenn.


April 2018

For real-time news on business, politics and economic development in the South, go to For all economic development projects announced in the South, go to

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.


March 2018

For real-time news on business, politics and economic development in the South, go to For all economic development projects announced in the South, go to

Automotive headquarters settling in Atlanta
In the winter quarter, PSA Group chose Atlanta for its North American headquarters. The French automaker that builds Peugeots and other brands is making a comeback in the U.S. General Motors also picked Atlanta for one of its four innovation centers and employs over 1,000 workers. Mercedes-Benz just moved into its new North American headquarters in Atlanta and Porsche also operates its headquarters near the Atlanta airport.

The Toyota-Mazda joint venture in Alabama will be a new company
Near the end of the winter quarter, officials with Toyota and Mazda were still working on plans for their new North Alabama plant, which was announced in January. The $1.6 billion, 4,000-employee complex is being built on a Huntsville, Ala.-annexed site near I-65 in Limestone County. The new plant will build the Toyota Corolla model and a new Mazda SUV. Brian Krinock, senior vice president in charge of Toyota plants in North America, said in Automotive News that there is more to the facility than simply being a joint venture between Mazda and Toyota. “It’s a new company,” Krinock said. “Not Toyota and not Mazda, but a new company. There’s no name for it yet.”

BMW’s South Carolina plant top exporter
For the fourth consecutive year, the BMW plant in Spartanburg County, S.C., was the nation’s largest automotive exporter based on value in 2017. BMW exported 272,346 vehicles, most of which were shipped through the Port of Charleston, in calendar year 2017. The vehicle exports were valued at $8.76 billion.

California newspaper publishes op-ed titled, “Why California should be more like Alabama — seriously”
In the winter quarter, Tom Manzo, president of Timely Industries and founder of the California Business and Industrial Alliance, penned an opinion piece that was published by the Orange County Register. Manzo cited the Toyota-Mazda plant that was announced in January that will be built in Huntsville, Ala. “California has a well-earned reputation of being business unfriendly, and according to one analysis has lost over 1,700 companies in the past decade” (to other states), Manzo wrote. “Fifteen states were competing for the Toyota-Mazda joint venture; California was not even on the bench” (for the project).

“Yes, our climate is great — but talented young professionals can find great culture and a great food scene in Birmingham just as well as Berkeley. They can also afford to live there,” Manzo continued. (The median home price in Alabama is $126,500. It is just under $500,000 in California).

Manzo finished his op-ed with this: “As the state legislature returns to Sacramento for a new session, my hope is that they’ll choose to be less like themselves — and more like Alabama. The future of our state’s small and mid-sized businesses depends on it.”

Topre America expanding again in Cullman, Ala.
Topre America, a manufacturer of stamped parts for Honda, Toyota and Nissan, is investing $80 million in its plant in Cullman, Ala. The new capacity will supply parts to the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tenn., for the Altima model. The deal will create almost 100 jobs.

Ford investing in Louisville Truck Plant
Ford Motor Co. is adding capacity of large SUVs at its plant in Louisville. The automaker is investing $25 million to increase production by 25 percent of its Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator models. No new jobs will be created, but 400 new robots will be added.

Cooper Tire expanding in Mississippi
Cooper Tire & Rubber is locating its largest distribution center in the U.S. in Marshall County, Miss. The company will lease a new 1-million-square-foot facility and will spend $50 million in the deal that will create 100 jobs.

French automaker chooses Atlanta for North American HQ
Groupe PSA, a French manufacturer of cars and motorcycles, has chosen Atlanta for its North American headquarters. Its brands include Peugeot, Citroen, DS, Opel and Vauxhall cars. The company joins Porsche and Mercedes-Benz with headquarters in Atlanta.

Molding company expands in Mississippi
Richardson Molding, a manufacturer of custom plastic-injection-molded products for the industrial lead battery sector and automotive market, is investing over $5 million to expand its plant in Philadelphia, Miss. The deal will create 53 jobs.

Metal treatment manufacturer lands in Arkansas
Applied Process, a metal treatment company that does work for the aerospace and automotive industries, is opening a new plant in Fort Smith, Ark. The $2.5 million project will create 30 new jobs.

BASF expanding Louisiana plant
BASF will nearly double production of MDI at its plant in Geismar, La. MDI is used to produce polyurethane foams for insulation, construction and automotive products. The project calls for an investment of $150 million.

New jobs coming to Lawrenceburg, Tenn.
MARTIN Technologies announced it will locate in Lawrenceburg and employ 250-plus workers. The company, headquartered in New Hudson, Mich., was founded in 1996 by engineer and drag racer Harold Martin, and provides solutions to the automotive, marine, aerospace and defense industries.

Auto parts distributor locates in Mullins, S.C.
DMA Holdings is locating new operations in Mullins with a $4.7 million investment and 34 new jobs. The company’s product line consists of shocks and struts, mount kits, brake wear sensors and other auto replacement parts.

Denso invests $190 million, adds 320 jobs in Athens, Tenn.
Auto supplier Denso is expanding its operations in North America through a $190 million investment in its Athens, Tenn., facility. The investment will add four new production lines and 320 jobs. In September, DENSO announced a $1 billion investment in its Maryville, Tenn., facility, creating 1,000 jobs focused on electrification and safety systems.

Two manufacturers make $15 million investment in Alabama facilities
An auto parts maker and a dietary supplements manufacturer are expanding in Lee County, Ala. Mando America Corp. manufactures auto parts such as brakes, suspensions and steering systems. It is investing more than $10 million at its headquarters in Opelika.

Pharmavite, based in California, manufactures dietary supplements and is investing approximately $5.6 million it its Opelika facility

Magna Seating planning $8 million expansion, 130 jobs
A BMW supplier that recently opened in Spartanburg County is already planning to expand. Magna Seating has asked the county for $120,000 in additional infrastructure credits for an $8 million expansion that would create 130 full-time jobs. The revised fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement would grant Magna a total of $810,000 in special source revenue credits through 2020, with a total planned investment of $37 million and the creation of 610 jobs.

Meritor expanding operations in York County, S.C.
Meritor, a global supplier of drivetrain, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle markets, is expanding its existing operations in York County. The $7.8 million investment is projected to create 26 new jobs.

Blue Springs, Mo., gets new auto parts manufacturer
A leading automotive technology company, Faurecia, will build a new $60 million, 250,000-square-foot facility in Blue Springs, Mo., creating 300 new jobs. The plant will manufacture and assemble door and instrument panels.

Thirty new automotive jobs for Marion County, S.C.
DMA Holdings is locating new operations in Mullins, S.C. The automotive parts distributor is projected to create 34 new jobs with a $4.7 million investment.

Fort Smith, Ark., gets a boost
Fort Smith’s notoriety as a manufacturing town was given a boost over the past couple of weeks with two jobs announcements that will add about 180 jobs to the local economy. A majority of those jobs – 150 — will come from Chesterfield, Mo.-based Silgan Plastics. Another 30 jobs will come from Allied Process, a metal treatment company that does work for the aerospace, automotive and railroad industries.


February 2018

For real-time news on business, politics and economic development in the South, go to For all economic development projects announced in the South, go to

Big win in Missouri 20 years ago comes to a close
One of the most sought-after projects in the South in the late 1990s is coming to a close. Wisconsin-based Harley-Davidson is closing its motorcycle assembly plant in Kansas City, Mo. The plant opened in 1998. Production is being shifted to the company’s York, Pa., plant. The closing affects about 800 workers in Kansas City.

U.K. diplomat says what kept Toyota-Mazda from North Carolina would not be a problem for Jaguar Land Rover
In an article published by the Raleigh News & Observer in January, British diplomat Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, the United Kingdom’s Atlanta-based consul general, was in Raleigh in January and was quoted as saying that Jaguar Land Rover could be a future target for North Carolina leaders that want to land the state’s first automaker. Toyota-Mazda passed on North Carolina and picked a site in Huntsville, Ala., for the latest plant in the Southern Auto Corridor. Reports indicated North Carolina did not have a large enough existing parts supplier base. Pilmore-Bedford said that would not be an issue with Jaguar Land Rover because if the British carmaker built a plant in the U.S., it would “start from scratch” by bringing in its own suppliers.

North Carolina adds fifth certified megasite
In addition to sites in Chatham, Randolph and Edgecombe counties, a new megasite has been certified in North Carolina. The new, 1,394-acre site is in Person County, north of Durham.

Nissan expects to build new U.S. plant within five years
Hiroto Saikawa, CEO of Nissan, told attendees at the Detroit Auto Show that the Japanese automaker will need to build a new U.S. plant in four to five years. The company operates its largest North American plant in Smyrna, Tenn., and another in Canton, Miss., in the Southern Automotive Corridor.

VW to invest $3.3 billion in North America
Volkswagen announced it will invest $3.3 billion in North America over the next three years to increase market share. About $1.2 billion will be invested in the U.S. VW’s only U.S. plant is in Chattanooga, Tenn., where it employs about 3,500 workers.

Tennessee official: Memphis megasite needs $80 million in infrastructure improvements
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolf said in January that the Memphis Regional Megasite will need another $80 million to make it “shovel ready” for a larger user. Toyota and Mazda passed on the site since it was not fully served.

With vehicle sales declining slightly, why did Toyota and Mazda make quick work of another plant?
The Toyota-Mazda site search that ended up on a TVA certified megasite at a Huntsville-annexed site in Limestone County, Ala., was really, really. . .and I mean, really. . .on the fast track. From conception in the summer of 2017, the site search ended in Alabama in January 2018.

With vehicle sales down slightly to 17.1 million in 2017 from 17.5 million in 2016, why did Toyota and Mazda work so fast to locate the $1.6 billion plant in the Southern Auto Corridor? For one, Mazda will make an entirely new SUV at the Huntsville facility that will open in 2021, and we all know Americans love their SUVs. Mazda plans to assemble 150,000 of those SUVs at the Alabama plant.

The other factor is that Toyota is evolving its North American production capacity. The Japanese automaker ended production of the Corolla in Canada in order to make more RAV4 models, and decided not to assemble the sedan at a new plant in Guanajuato, Mexico that is still under construction. There, it will assemble a much needed vehicle, the Tacoma pickup truck. So, Toyota needed more Corolla capacity, which it will get with the North Alabama plant.

Corollas are also made 150 miles away from Huntsville at Toyota’s plant in Blue Springs, Miss. And, the engines for the Corolla are already being made at Toyota’s engine plant in Huntsville, just down the road from the new plant. So, everything was in place at the Alabama site for Toyota, and Mazda needed a partner to build the 4,000-employee, $1.6 billion plant to launch their new SUV for U.S. consumption.

Mercedes-Benz assembles 3 millionth vehicles in Alabama
Mercedes-Benz celebrated a milestone in the winter quarter. The German automaker assembled its 3 millionth vehicle in January, a diamond silver GLE 350 SUV. The company began production in 1997 at the Tuscaloosa County plant.

North Carolina megasite now at 1,900 acres
The Randolph County, N.C., megasite that reportedly came in second in the Toyota-Mazda site search has added about 140 acres. The Greensboro-Randolph Megasite Foundation now owns approximately 1,900 acres.

Kentucky to get $300 million plant
A division of an Indian conglomerate will invest about $300 million in an aluminum sheet factory just north of Clarksville, Tenn., in Guthrie, Ky. Novelis plans a 2020 opening for a new plant to prepare aluminum for use as automobile parts such as hoods, doors and fenders. Novelis plans to hire about 125 people.

Auto supplier investing $7.1 million In Alabama expansion
A German company that provides third-party logistics services to automotive manufacturers is expanding its operations in Tuscaloosa County. BLG Logistics is investing $7.1 million in an expansion of its plant in Vance, Ala., creating 43 new jobs in the process.

Spartan Light Metal Products expands Missouri plant
Spartan Light Metal Products, an advanced manufacturer of custom die cast aluminum and magnesium products for the automotive and consumer products markets, will expand into a new multi-million-dollar state-of-the-art manufacturing facility located 120 miles west of St. Louis, in Mexico, Mo. The expansion is expected to add more than 100 new jobs.

Innovative Vehicle Solutions expands South Carolina complex
Innovative Vehicle Solutions (IVS), a builder of custom commercial vehicles located in Ladson, is expanding its existing operations in Charleston County, S.C. The company’s $2.5 million investment is expected to create 108 new jobs. Launched in 2012, IVS is a commercial truck body builder and upfitter.

Groupe PSA chooses Georgia for new North American HQ
Groupe PSA, a French multinational manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles, will locate its new North American headquarters in Fulton County. With its five world-renowned car brands — Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall Motors — Groupe PSA is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, and the second largest in Europe.

Automotive supplier to create 150 new jobs in Upstate
Grupo Antolin, a designer and manufacturer of components for the automotive industry, said it plans to establish three facilities in Spartanburg County, S.C. The $50 million investment is expected to create more than 150 jobs over the course of five years.

Mickey Truck Bodies plans 50 jobs in North Carolina
Mickey Truck Bodies will expand the workforce at its High Point, N.C., operations for the second time in less than a year by creating up to 50 jobs. The family-owned company makes truck bodies and trailers and is adding the jobs during the first quarter to meet increased demand for delivery bodies and specially engineered vehicles.

Newcan moving to Pulaski, Va., creating 40 jobs
Newcan Corporation is moving its headquarters and main production facility from Holbrook, Mass., to Pulaski. The move will bring 40 new jobs and an investment of $4 million to Pulaski County. Newcan produces precision stampings and perforated components. . .a major supplier for the automotive industry.

Amthor International Expands in Gretna, Va.
Amthor International, the largest tanker truck manufacturer in North America, will invest $7.1 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Gretna. The company will build a plant to accommodate increased demand for fabricated tanker trucks, and will designate the new Gretna facility as its corporate headquarters. The company will retain 110 existing jobs and create 90 new jobs in Pittsylvania County.

Tristone Flowtech USA plans North Carolina manufacturing plant
Tristone Flowtech USA, a subsidiary of a German automotive supplier, will invest $23.6 million to locate its first manufacturing facility in the United States in Mooresville, N.C. The company plans to create 302 jobs in Iredell County to provide engine and battery cooling systems for the automotive industry.

Daesol Material Georgia creating 110 jobs in Harris County
Daesol Material Georgia has completed the construction of its new Harris County manufacturing facility, which will create 110 jobs. Daesol Material Georgia, a manufacturer of automotive fiber padding, invested $35 million in the construction and equipping of the facility.


Southbound – Fall 2017

The South’s economy has never been better

By Michael Randle, Editor

In 2016, the 15-state American South contributed a record $6.12 trillion (that’s with a “T”) to the United States’ economy, which saw a GDP totaling $18.57 trillion. The West contributed $4.61 trillion, which was more than any other region. Take California out of the West, and its GDP totals a mere $2 trillion.

In fact, the U.S. economy remains the largest in the world by a wide margin. China, the second largest economy on the planet, generated a GDP of $11.2 trillion in 2016 in U.S. dollars, according to the World Bank, and that means something. Last year, 64 percent of all transactions world-wide were traded in dollars. Still, the dollar reigns supreme of all known central bank foreign exchange reserves.

No other country’s currency — even multi-country currencies — comes close in transactions (the Euro is second at 19.7 percent.) Which means that although we may not be the best savers — as a nation and as citizens — no international body in its right mind would challenge U.S. debt. Not now, anyway.

The new “gross regional product” numbers for 2016 mean that the South’s economy is more than half the size of China’s. Pretty dang impressive.

There are several ways the South has accomplished this incredible feat seen in 2016. It has diversified its economic base like no time ever. Its in-migration from other U.S. regions is back to levels not seen since the 1980s, 1990s and before the Great Recession. Well-educated immigrants from other countries now want to live in the South as opposed to other regions because the South remains the least expensive place in the world’s largest economy to live and operate a business.

Furthermore, the South is unlike any of the other three regions in demography. No U.S. region has the number of mid-major markets the South has — Austin, San Antonio, Raleigh, Charlotte, Nashville, Orlando, New Orleans, Richmond, Birmingham, Louisville, Greenville and so many others. Sure, we are home to mega-markets such as Atlanta, Dallas-Fort

Worth, Houston, South Florida and D.C. But it is the vast number of mid-majors that solidify the South’s economy and help spread the wealth.

Want proof? Name a major market in Illinois other than Chicago? Name one in New York? Florida and Texas have 10 mid-majors each.

So, here is a new trophy earned by the American South. New data from the World Bank shows that the region’s 2016 GRP has forced us to make a change to our masthead. The South is no longer the fourth largest economy in the world. GDP and GRP data shows that the American South is now the third largest economy in the world with $6.12 trillion in GDP churned in 2016. For almost two decades, our masthead read, “Economic Development in the World’s Fourth Largest Economy.” Not anymore. The South is No. 3 in the world!

Here are the top 10 economies in the world, with regions of the U.S. factored in when it comes to GDP in 2016. The values are based on U.S. dollars:

1. United States$18.6 trillion
2. China$11.2 trillion
3. U.S. South$6.1 trillion
4. Japan$4.9 trillion
5. U.S. West$4.6 trillion
6. U.S. Northeast$4.2 trillion
7. Germany$3.4 trillion
8. U.S Midwest$3.4 trillion
9. U.K.$2.6 trillion
10. France$2.5 trillion

Source: World Bank


Top Deals – Fall 2017

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

Announcements made in the Summer 2017 Quarter

1. Denso1,000$1000EMaryville, Tenn.Auto Parts
2. Toyota800$80EGeorgetown, KyAuto Assembly
3. Mercedes-Benz600$1000EVance, Ala.Auto Assembly
4. New Flyer550N/ANShepherdsville, Ky.Bus Assembly
5. Bocar300$115NHuntsville, Ala.Auto Parts
6. Fritz Winter300$110NFranklin, Ky.Auto Parts
7. Continental145N/AEBurke Co., N.CAuto Parts
8. Perrone Robotics127$4EAlbemarle Co., Va.Robotics
9. Nucor Steel100$23EHickman, Ark.Auto Grade Steel
10. Highline Aftermarket91N/ANMemphis, Tenn.Auto Parts

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