Toyota expanding Kentucky plant, again
Japanese automaker Toyota is expanding its Georgetown, Ky., plant once again. Toyota is adding 400 workers as soon as possible at the plant, which is the automaker’s largest in the world. All workers hired will receive a $500 signing bonus if they remain on the job for at least six months. It is the first time Toyota has offered a signing bonus for new hires. This is the latest announcement in what has been a busy year for Toyota’s Kentucky plant. In March, the automaker announced it would invest $238 million to launch assembly of two hybrid vehicles in Kentucky, its RAV4 and the luxury Lexus ES 300.
The automotive industry is slowing faster than expected
Last year there were 55 automotive-relative deals announced of 200 jobs or more in the 15-state Southern Auto Corridor. That’s half of the 111 jobs announced in the South in 2015, when the industry sector peaked. The total last year was the lowest since 2008. The sector experienced a “sharp downturn” in production and sales through 2018 and that is not going to get any better this year. The auto sector represented 20 percent of 2018’s slowdown in GDP and roughly 30 percent of the slowdown in global trade, according to the International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook survey released in the fall quarter.
BMW celebrates 25 years in South Carolina
In the fall quarter, BMW workers and officials celebrated 25 years of its plant in Spartanburg County, S.C. To date, BMW has assembled 4.75 million vehicles and has exported 3 million of those through the Port of Charleston. BMW is the nation’s No. 1 exporter of vehicles from just one plant that houses 11,000 workers.
Company expanding its aluminum recycling operation in Georgia
Novelis, a maker of aluminum for the automotive industry and others, is investing $36 million in its recycling plant in Greensboro, Ga. The recycled aluminum will then be used by auto assembly companies.
Chinese company to establish first U.S. facility in Tennessee
Global Track Manufacturing, a maker of rubber tracks and undercarriage parts for industrial and agricultural equipment, is reopening the old Tower Automotive plant in Milan, Tenn. The deal, which will open next summer, will create 250 jobs.
Van assembly plant set for rural Virginia
Morgan Olson will invest $57.8 million to establish a new aluminum walk-in step van assembly plant in Danville-Pittsylvania County, Va. The vans are used by food distributors and other industries. The project will create 700 jobs.
Nucor opens Mississippi County, Ark., steel plant
Charlotte-based Nucor Steel opened its new specialty cold steel mill at its massive complex in Mississippi County, Ark., in the fall quarter. Most of the new capacity will be used for the automotive industry. The company invested $230 million in the project that will create 100 new jobs.
Firetruck company bringing more than 300 jobs to Georgia
Fouts Brothers is moving it headquarters and manufacturing operations to Milledgeville, Ga. The company will invest $15 million and create 300 jobs.
Truck manufacturer will establish operations in South Carolina
Spartan Motors, assembler of fleet, work truck and specialty service vehicle manufacturing, is establishing operations in Charleston County, S.C. The $1.15 million investment will create 308 jobs.
Continental Tire grand opening in Mississippi
Continental celebrated a major milestone for its new tire plant near Clinton, Miss., with a grand opening event in October. The celebration marks the completion of the construction process, which began in 2016. Continental has committed nearly $1.4 billion and expects to employ 2,500 people when the plant reaches full capacity in the next decade. The project represents the largest economic development announcement for the area in a generation.
Hyundai Motor Group plans to invest $34.6 billion in mobility tech by 2025
Hyundai Motor Group said it plans to invest $34.6 billion in mobility and other auto technologies by 2025. The plan, which encompasses autonomous, connected and electric vehicles as well as technology for ride-sharing, comes after the automaker and two of its affiliates announced an investment of $1.6 billion in a venture with U.S. self-driving tech firm Aptiv.
Henderson Stamping and Production expands Tennessee plant
Henderson Stamping and Production, a metal stamping manufacturer for the appliance and automotive industries, will invest $13.5 million to expand its operations center in Henderson, Tenn. The company plans to create 52 jobs in Chester County.
MM Technics expands factory in Newberry County, S.C.
MM Technics, an American subsidiary of automotive supplier Muhr Metalltechnik, will invest $6 million to expand its production plant in Newberry County. MM Technics has added another metal stamping press and high-speed robotic welding systems to supply automotive companies throughout the United States and Europe.
South Korea-based Shinhwa Group plans manufacturing complex in Auburn, Ala.
The Shinhwa Group, a South Korean-based automotive parts manufacturer, plans to invest $42 million to establish its first manufacturing operation in the U.S in Auburn, Ala. The project is expected to create 95 jobs. Initially, Shinhwa will produce drive shafts for vehicles made by Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama in Montgomery and Kia Motor Manufacturing Georgia, just across the state line in West Point. Looking to the future, Shinhwa plans to expand its production in Auburn to also provide parts for other car manufacturers.
Nokian Tyres opens $360 million plant in Dayton, Tenn.
Finland-based Nokian Tyres’ $360 million factory was unveiled before several hundred people during a ceremony in October. By year’s end, the 830,000-square-foot plant — its first plant in the United States — aims to have as many as 150 employees, and 400 workers when the plant is at full production, making 4 million tires annually.
Goodyear expands tire testing facility in Texas
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has plans for two new expansion projects at its vehicle dynamics proving ground in San Angelo, Texas. The San Angelo facility covers 7,250 acres and includes 58 miles of roads and track, 14 miles of fence and more than 200 test vehicles.