Southern Auto Corridor News
German automaker eyes U.S. assembly plant
According to a report in the Washington Post, Audi is considering building a U.S. factory to produce electric vehicles. In just the past three years, several automakers and battery manufacturers have announced plans to spend billions on new facilities in the Southern Automotive Corridor.
Ford and Gov. Lee celebrate historic BlueOval City in West Tennessee
In the spring quarter, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Ford Motor Company marked significant progress on construction at the historic BlueOval City complex in West Tennessee. The project is the single largest investment in Tennessee history. In 2021, Ford Motor Company and SK On committed a $5.6 billion investment to build a 3,600-acre mega-campus called BlueOval City at the Megasite of West Tennessee, where the production of Ford’s second generation electric trucks will begin in 2025. The project is expected to create 30,000 jobs in West Tennessee, anchored by Memphis, including auto parts suppliers and other support projects. The construction is expected to create 6,000 jobs.
Study projects BlueOvalSK EV battery plant will have $800 million economic impact in Kentucky
A new study conducted by the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) and Murray State University shows the potential economic impact of the BlueOval SK Battery Park on local governments in Hardin County and the surrounding region. Once at full employment in 2025, the Ford facility is estimated to have a yearly value-added impact of nearly $800 million.
Lithium-ion battery recycler opens plant in Georgia
A $50 million lithium-ion battery recycling facility is now open in Covington, a critical piece of Georgia’s growing electric vehicle supply chain. Massachusetts-based Ascend Elements currently employs 100 workers at the facility, which is near Rivian’s planned $5 billion electric vehicle plant in Social Circle, Ga. The battery recycler plans to increase its headcount to 185 by 2024, and called the project the largest of its kind in North America.
EVs in Georgia account for the majority of Georgia’s biggest deals
Electric vehicle plants like Rivian and Hyundai in Georgia make up seven of the 10 largest economic development projects as of April. The Hyundai project, worth billions, is one of the largest economic development projects announced in the South.
Toyota Boshoku to make $225 million investment in Hopkinsville, Ky.
Toyota Boshoku America Inc. (TBA) will invest more than $225 million to construct a new facility in Hopkinsville and create 157 quality jobs for Kentuckians, according to the Lane Report. The new facility will include a 365,400-square-foot building pad on 49 acres in Christian County. The plant will be the first TBA location globally to be considered a “Smart Plant.” The facility will employ innovative, cutting-edge technologies such as advanced robotics, planning and automation to streamline processes, reduce waste and enhance productivity to maximize efficiency and operations.
$1.3 billion investment announced in South Carolina
Charlotte-based Albemarle is investing at least $1.3 billion and creating more than 300 new jobs to construct a new “Mega-Flex” lithium hydroxide processing facility in Chester County, S.C. The facility will support the surging demand for electric vehicles and other energy storage applications that use lithium-ion batteries. Situated on nearly 800 acres near Richburg, Albemarle’s new “Mega-Flex” conversion facility will support the fast-growing global electric vehicle and energy storage markets. The term “Mega-Flex” refers to the facility’s ability to process diverse lithium feedstock, including lithium from recycled batteries. The new facility is expected to annually produce approximately 50,000 metric tons of battery-grade lithium hydroxide from multiple sources, with the potential to reach up to 100,000 metric tons, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
Another lithium-Ion battery campus being built in South Carolina
Cirba Solutions, a comprehensive battery management and materials company, announced plans in the spring to build its newest state-of-the-art, flagship operations in Richland County, S.C. The integrated lithium-ion battery materials campus will encompass an initial investment of over $300 million and will create more than 300 new jobs. The company plans to build an approximately 400,000-square-foot, world-class lithium-ion battery recycling and materials campus that will focus on processing end-of-life hybrid and EV batteries and gigafactory scrap to extract critical materials such as nickel, cobalt and lithium.
Electric vehicle battery manufacturer expanding in Tennessee
Microvast, a maker of batteries for EVs, is investing $150 million to expand its facility in Clarksville, Tenn. The expansion will double the plant’s capacity. “Houston-based Microvast is one of several automotive companies pouring new investment into Greater Nashville and hitching the largest piece of Tennessee’s manufacturing economy to electric vehicles.” So far, Microvast has committed to close to 290 jobs at its first Clarksville factory and another 600 to 700 at a potential second factory nearby, according to the Nashville Business Journal. Microvast reported 35 percent growth in revenue from 2021 to 2022. Its backlog of orders more than tripled, to $410.5 million.
Supplier to Hyundai’s massive Georgia complex to bring new jobs
Korea-based PHA announced it will build a new plant near the Hyundai facility in Chatham County, Ga. The $67 million investment will generate more than 400 new jobs.
Tin Thanh Group to locate tire manufacturing facility in rural South Carolina; over 1,000 jobs to be created
Tin Thanh Group Americas, a tire manufacturer, announced plans to establish its first United States operations which will be in Allendale County. The company’s $68 million investment will create 1,031 new jobs. Supplying energy from reusable sources, Tin Thanh Group Americas will provide operations in recycled energy, closed industry-agriculture, recycled waste and tire leasing while serving the environment, energy, high-tech agriculture and technology markets.
Auto parts manufacturer to hire more than 119 in Salem, Va.
German auto parts manufacturer STS Group AG will establish its North American headquarters in Salem. The company announced a greenfield project in Wythe County, Va., in 2001, but has chosen to move into an existing facility near Roanoke. The investment of $39 million will create 120 jobs.
Ford’s $5.6 billion BlueOval City complex attracting suppliers far and wide in Tennessee
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development reported in the spring quarter that Ford’s suppliers for its electric vehicle facility in Stanton, Tenn., (located just outside of Memphis) are considering sites in more places in the Volunteer State than West Tennessee. Supplier activity is hot on the site of the 11-million-square-foot plant shared by Ford and battery maker SK.
Another Hyundai supplier picks Georgia
A steady stream of automotive parts suppliers has announced plans to serve the gigantic Hyundai battery and vehicle plant in Bryan County, Ga. South Korea-based PHA announced in March it will invest $67 million in a new facility near the Hyundai plant. The deal will create over 400 jobs.
Alabama automotive sector continues to thrive
Alabama’s four major assembly plants continue to grow. Mazda Toyota is adding jobs in Huntsville. Hyundai (Montgomery) and Mercedes-Benz (Tuscaloosa County) continue to expand their electric vehicle lineups. And Honda plans updates on several models at its plant in Lincoln.
Tire manufacturer hiring 125 in Tennessee
Nokian Tyres is expanding its workforce in Dayton, Tenn. The project will generate 125 new jobs.
Hyundai assembles first electric vehicle at its Alabama plant
Korean automaker Hyundai rolled out its first electric vehicle at its large plant in Montgomery, Ala. The Genesis Electrified GV70 SUV was the first model to be produced. The first EV comes 10 months after Hyundai announced that it would build the Electrified GV70 SUV and a hybrid version of the Santa Fe at the Montgomery plant. Hyundai invested $300 million and added 200 jobs to install an EV line at the plant.
Supplier adds to growth list of Korean parts makers in Georgia
In the spring quarter, Georgia announced Sewon America would invest more than $300 million into a new manufacturing facility in Rincon in Effingham County, Ga. The deal will generate more than 700 jobs.
South Carolina leads nation in export of vehicle tires
Gov. Henry McMaster, the South Carolina Department of Commerce (S.C. Commerce) and the South Carolina Ports Authority (SC Ports) announced that the state’s 2022 export sales totaled $31.5 billion, up 6 percent over 2021, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The state remains the nation’s top exporter of completed passenger motor vehicles and tires.
Tuskegee, Ala., captures Korean auto supplier
Samkee Corp., a Tier 1 supplier to Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery, will open a $128 million factory in Tuskegee, its first U.S. operation. The project will create 170 new jobs.
Virginia backs out of Ford deal; project goes to Michigan
Ford Motor Co. announced it will build at $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan. The plant will house about 2,500 workers. Virginia dropped out of the running for the deal in February.
Seoyon E-HWA joins list of Hyundai suppliers in Georgia
Gov. Brian Kemp announced that Seoyon E-HWA, a global auto parts supplier that manufactures both interior and exterior components, will create 740 new direct and indirect jobs and invest almost $76 million in a new manufacturing facility in Chatham County, Ga.