September 2018

September 2018

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

Nissan to invest $170 million to upgrade Tennessee and Mississippi plants
Nashville-based Nissan North America plans to invest $170 million at its two plants in the Southern Auto Corridor. The upgrades are being done to support the Nissan Altima model that is built at both facilities.

Manufacturer setting up shop near Honda’s Alabama plant
Lohr North America, a maker of car carriers, is converting an existing building in Lincoln, Ala., for a new plant. The French company will hire 140 workers in the deal.

France-based auto supplier to locate new operation in Middle Tennessee
Faurecia Interior Systems announced it will locate a $30 million plant in Maury County, Tenn. The plant will house 143 workers.

Michelin to reopen Earthmover tire production plant in South Carolina
A Michelin plant that was built in 2012 and idled in 2016, is expected to be back up running soon in Starr, S.C. The tire maker is expected to hire 100 workers for the reopening.

Auto parts supplier adding jobs in Kentucky
Webasto, a sunroof manufacturer, announced in August it will invest $15 million in its panorama roof systems line at its plant in Lexington, Ky. The deal will create 183 jobs.

Daimler delivers 50,000th Freightliner from North Carolina plant
Germany-based Daimler AG, the company that assembles the Freightliner Cascadia, has delivered the 50,000th model of the truck since production began 19 months ago at its plant in Rowan County, N.C. Daimler Trucks North America has garnered about 40 percent of the market share of Class 6 and Class 8 long-haul trucks.

Toyota’s Kentucky plant unveils next generation 2019 Lexus ES 350
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky unveiled the next generation Lexus ES 350 sedan model that is built at the Japanese automaker’s plant in Georgetown. Over 150,000 hours of training was done to build the new ES 350 that included sensory training that teaches workers on the assembly line to feel for defections that could be as small as a strand of hair. The plant will also build the F Sport high-performance model. The Kentucky plant is the only place in the world outside of Japan where Lexus models are produced.

South Carolina-made BMWs now cost more for Chinese buyers
China is a popular destination for South Carolina-made BMW SUVs. However, in the wake of China’s 40 percent tax on U.S. car imports (in a retaliatory move, China added a 25 percent tariff on American vehicles), BMW will raise the price of its vehicles by up to seven percent.

Auto parts distributor to expand operations in Tennessee
Revel Enterprises will invest $2.3 million to expand its auto parts distribution facility in Paris, Tenn. The deal will create 64 jobs.

Auto and truck parts manufacturer hiring in Mississippi
SMW Manufacturing, which opened in Oxford, Miss., in 2017, is expanding after starting the project with 50 jobs. Located in a former Caterpillar facility, the company makes parts for heavy truck, automotive and mining industrial markets. The $4 million deal will create 25 jobs.


Author: Michael Randle