October 2018

For real-time news on business, politics and economic development in the South, go to www.RandleReport.com. For all of the South’s announced projects, go to www.SB-D.com.

If you are set to buy a new car, buy it now, say experts
New tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on auto parts from China will not only impact automaker profits and cut sales, the costs are going straight to your wallet. Trump’s tariffs on over 100 imported Chinese auto parts — from tires to brake pads to batteries — will increase the cost of vehicles made in the U.S. “It’s going to be felt by Americans and it’s going to be a big deal,” said Peter Nagle, senior analyst at IHS Markit.

Wheel manufacturer investing in South Carolina facility
Wheel Pros, a manufacturer of branded aftermarket wheels, is investing almost $14 million in a facility in York County, S.C. The project will create 275 new jobs.

Auto supplier expands in South Carolina
MAHLE Behr Charleston, a supplier of air conditioning and radiator assemblies for the automotive industry, is investing $36 million in its plant in Charleston County, S.C. The deal will create 115 new jobs.

Toyota builds first next-gen engine at Alabama plant
Toyota’s Huntsville, Ala., plant produced its first next-generation four-cylinder engine in September. The engine was made possible after a $106 million investment to prepare the facility for advanced production. The next-gen project replaced the entire four-cylinder engine line at the plant. The facility is the only one in the world where Toyota makes four-cylinder, V-6 and V-8s.

Auto parts supplier expands in Mississippi
Automotive supplier Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi is increasing production capacity at its plant in Lee County, Miss. The company is a Tier 1 supplier of stamped parts to Toyota’s assembly plant in nearby Blue Springs, Miss. The $100 million project will create 50 jobs.

Volvo at full production at new South Carolina assembly plant
Volvo is now at full production of its newly designed S60 sedan at its new plant in Berkeley County, S.C. The first S60 models will arrive at U.S. dealerships later this year. Global distribution will begin in the spring of 2019. There are about 2,000 employees at the plant, with 2,000 more slated to be hired when the Chinese-owned, Sweden-based automaker builds another line for XC90 SUV.

Hunter Engineering expands Mississippi operations
Automotive service equipment manufacturer Hunter Engineering will invest $8 million to expand operations in Durant, Miss. The company plans to create 60 jobs.

Mercedes supplier hiring 250 in Alabama
Lear, a supplier of seating and electrical systems to the Mercedes plant in Vance, is hiring 250 entry-level operators.

ZF plans $40 million, 60-job expansion in Gainesville, Ga.
German car parts maker ZF is investing more than $40 million to expand its plant in Gainesville. ZF will add three new assembly lines and 60 new jobs.

New Flyer cuts ribbon on $30 million facility in Bullitt County, Ky.
New Flyer of America in Shepherdsville recently unveiled its $30 million transit bus and motor coach parts manufacturing facility that will create up to 550 jobs.

Reich plans $10.9 million investment in Arden, N.C.
Reich, a precision vehicle parts manufacturer, plans to invest $10.9 million into its facility, adding 15 new jobs to its workforce in the process.

One hundred jobs, $72 million coming to Newton County, Ga.
Japan-based Nisshinbo Automotive Manufacturing (NAMI), a manufacturer of environmentally friendly brake pads, will create 100 jobs and invest $72 million in an expansion of its Covington facility. New jobs at the facility will include positions in production and administration.

Mercedes opens first Sprinter factory in the U.S.
In September, Mercedes opened its first Sprinter van production plant in the U.S. In addition to cutting the ribbon at the $500 million factory in North Charleston, S.C., the company announced an order for 20,000 of the vans from Amazon. The facility employs 900 workers.

Volvo Car University coming to South Carolina
Volvo Car USA plans to build Volvo Car University at its Berkeley County campus later this year. The university will focus on workforce training and leadership development for North America.

New jobs for South Carolina after $5.8 million automotive expansion
By 2020, JTEKT North America plans to fill at least 100 new positions as a part of its $5.8 million expansion on the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research.


Author: Michael Randle