Southern Auto Corridor News

December 2021

A city is created in West Tennessee

Ford announced its plans in September to create Blue Oval City at the West Memphis I-40 megasite in Stanton, Tenn. The new “city” includes an investment of nearly $6 billion to make electric vehicles, including a next-generation electric Ford F-Series model. The city will also include, counting suppliers, up to 6,000 new jobs. Over $800 million has been earmarked in incentives for Ford in the deal. Earlier in 2021, Ford announced it had increased its planned EV investment to $30 billion by 2025.

 

Big battery plant in middle Tennessee on schedule

The construction of the Ultium Cells LLC battery plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., is on schedule as of the fall quarter, company officials announced. The 2.8 million-square-foot facility is a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution. GM operates a large assembly plant in Spring Hill. One of the models that will use the batteries is a new one called the Cadillac Lyriq luxury crossover, Cadillac’s very first all-electric vehicle. The project will create 1,300 new jobs.

 

U.S. automakers beg Biden administration to waive tariffs on components from China

All domestic and foreign automotive OEMs and suppliers have pleaded with the Biden administration to lift tariffs on a wide range of components from China, especially those for electric-car batteries. Many of the components are not made anywhere but in China. One of those products is artificial or natural graphite. Big suppliers with plants in the South, such as Magna and SK Innovation, are asking for respite from tariffs on all the myriad switches, sensors, motors and other parts that go into a vehicle.

 

Automotive manufacturing jobs lead job surge

Manufacturing job growth leaped in October as motor vehicles and parts manufacturers hired almost as many people as all other manufacturing sectors combined. In October, manufacturing added 60,000 jobs of the 531,000 jobs overall as the unemployment rate edged down to 4.6 percent. Automotive added 27,700 jobs as the electric vehicle market is just now really getting its legs under it.

 

Hyundai expects electric vehicle production to start next year

Korean automaker Hyundai will begin EV production on the Genesis GV70 EV at its plant in Montgomery, Ala., beginning in 2022. The assembly of electric vehicles in Alabama will be the first for Korean automakers. The company is also counting on proposed subsidies for electric vehicles produced on U.S. soil.

 

Ford, a union company, settles in West Tennessee

In the fall quarter, Ford announced it will assemble electric vehicles and batteries at a massive site just east of Memphis. The nearly 6,000-job, nearly $6 billion deal with SK Innovation, along with a companion facility in Hardin County in Central Kentucky, will blaze a new trail when it comes to the automotive industry morphing into electric innovation. It remains to be seen if the facilities will become unionized.

 

Is an Amazon-backed electric truck set for the Atlanta area?

While Fort Worth is a finalist for a $5 billion electric truck and SUV factory, it’s looking as if a site east of Atlanta may have the inside track on the big deal. The factory would include a new battery and vehicle assembly plant.

 

Is Toyota eyeing megasite in North Carolina for electric battery plant?

Rumors have it that Japanese automaker Toyota is eyeing the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite for a large electric battery plant to ramp up electric vehicle manufacturing in the U.S. The site is a 1,825-acre site rezoned for heavy industry located near the center of the state. No formal agreement has been reached.

 

Mazda to assemble midsize crossover SUV at new Alabama plant

In the fall quarter, Mazda unveiled the first vehicle it will assemble at the new plant it shares with Toyota. The new model will be called the CX-50 and will join Toyota’s Corolla Cross, a smaller SUV that will also be built at the new plant. The $2.3 billion, 4,000-employee plant will be in full production sometime in 2022.

 

Honda marks 20 years of production at its Alabama plant

In November, Honda marked 20 years of production at its assembly plant in Lincoln, Ala. The plant has expanded numerous times with several different models, mostly light trucks. The Japanese automaker also makes V-6 engines at the $2 billion facility that houses about 4,500 workers.

 

Toyota West Virginia expands assembly plant in Buffalo, W.Va.

Toyota West Virginia plans to invest $240 million to expand its assembly plant and add a dedicated production line of hybrid transaxles in Buffalo. The new investment will allow workers there to diversify their skillset and play a larger role in Toyota’s future producing electric vehicles in North America.

 

Auto products maker establishing East Coast hub near Charlotte, N.C.

Kentucky-based Holley Performance Products, a manufacturer of high-performance automotive products for cars and trucks, will invest $12.3 million to establish its East Coast hub in Mooresville.

 

NOVONIX investing $160 million Chattanooga, Tenn.

Most of the materials used to make batteries for electric vehicles come from Asia, but NOVONIX is about to change that. The company will invest $160 million and hire 300 workers for its new manufacturing facility called “Riverside Recharged” in Chattanooga.

 

BMW Manufacturing expands South Carolina presence with logistics center

BMW Manufacturing is expanding its operations in Spartanburg County with the construction of a new $100 million logistics center. The facility, which will be located on 120 acres, will enhance BMW’s logistics operations supplying parts to the company’s 7-million-square-foot factory in Greer, SC.

 

Dr. Schneider Automotive plans Mississippi operation

Germany-based Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems, a supplier of manufacturing air ventilation systems and window frame trim, plans to establish operations in Baldwyn, Miss. The $22.5 million project is expected to create up to 400 jobs over six years.

 

Nemak expanding in Glasgow, Ky.

Manufacturer Nemak announced it will create 170 well-paying jobs with a $27 million expansion of its Nemak Kentucky operation in Glasgow to support future electric vehicle-related business. Nemak’s investment will support upgrades and new equipment at its facility there.

 

SKC to invest $473 million in semiconductor plant in Georgia

South Korea’s SKC, a maker of plastic films, is set to invest $473 million to locate a semiconductor parts venture at its existing plant in Georgia. SK also is home to SK Innovation, which has invested $2.6 billion to put an electric-vehicle battery plant in Jackson County and plans to ramp up a second plant on the complex as demand grows.

 

Central Motor Wheel of America opens 145-job expansion in Paris, Ky.

Central Motor Wheel of America recently held the grand opening of the expansion of its existing operations in Bourbon County. The automotive wheel manufacturer will add 145 new jobs.