Southern Auto Corridor News

March 2021

GM looking to build second battery plant in Tennessee

Detroit-based General Motors is scouting sites in Tennessee, where it operates one of its largest assembly plants, to locate a second battery factory in the United States. A second battery plant would increase capacity for electric vehicles for the automaker. GM’s joint-venture partner is LG Chem. The two companies are building a $2.3 billion battery factory in Northeast Ohio.

BorgWarner announces expansion in North Carolina

Manufacturer BorgWarner announced a $62 million expansion of its facilities in Arden, N.C. The auto supplier’s project will include at least 100 new jobs.

Plastic manufacturer expands in Kentucky

Stratus Plastics, an automotive plastics manufacturing company located in Morgantown, Ky., is increasing capacity at its plant there. The expansion will create 135 jobs.

Port Laredo No. 1 in exports again

Laredo, Texas, again led all U.S. markets in exports, according to Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity. It is the second year Port Laredo finished on top. Some of the Port’s exports include motor vehicle parts ($8.9 billion); engines ($3.4 billion) and gasoline $3.1 billion).

Once again, BMW leads nation in exports by value

At $8.9 billion, BMW led all automaker exports by value of its units made in South Carolina, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is the seventh consecutive year BMW led all American-made vehicle exports by value. The top two export countries for the BMW vehicles made in Spartanburg County, S.C., in 2020 were China (23.3 percent of export volume) and Germany (12.9 percent).

Steel Technologies to expand in Smyrna, Tenn.

Steel Technologies recently obtained a revised property tax-break agreement that will result in 22 more jobs at its facility in Smyrna. The company processes flat-rolled steel for the automotive industry among others.

Cottrell to invest $125 million in Gainesville, Ga.

Cottrell, a manufacturer of over-the-road car haulers and equipment, will establish a second manufacturing facility in Gainesville. This will serve as the company’s North Campus, adjacent to their existing South Campus in Hall County. Cottrell will invest $125 million in the new 500,000-square-foot facility, which will also create new jobs.

Hankook Tire announces major expansion in Clarksville, Tenn.

Hankook Tire is embarking on the phase 2 expansion of the South Korean-owned Clarksville tire plant, bringing its total investment there to about $1 billion. Hankook Tire opened in Clarksville in October 2017, and currently employs about 1,000 people.

Toyota West Virginia expanding Buffalo facility

Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia (TMMWV) will invest $210 million to upgrade existing engine production and add 100 new jobs to increase capacity of its four-cylinder engine line. Once complete, TMMWV’s total investment will be more than $1.8 billion and total employment will exceed 2,000 at the Buffalo facility.

VW axle supplier adding 240 jobs in Tennessee

A Spanish supplier of Volkswagen components is expanding its presence in the United States, adding a large new factory in Chattanooga. Sesé Industrial Services will build a new 300,000-square-foot facility, complementing the company’s existing Sesé Logistics operations in the city. With an investment of $42 million, the new plant will produce axle components for VW’s electric vehicle line. The company plans to employ 240 people at the factory.

Grant for Cullman, Ala., manufacturer could mean 125 new jobs

A grant to the REHAU facility in Cullman, Ala., will allow the company to expand and hire 125 new employees. REHAU produces plastic-injection products that are used in the manufacturing of Alabama-built vehicles, including Mercedes.

Nippon Express completes Huntsville Logistics Center

Nippon Express, based in Tokyo, has completed construction of its Huntsville Logistics Center in Huntsville, Ala. The Center will handle distribution for Mazda parts manufactured by Mazda Toyota Manufacturing.