January 2021

Rejoining the Paris Agreement to boost automotive industry

Former President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, more commonly called the Paris Climate Accord. President Biden has now rejoined the Climate Accord and it will be a boost to the automotive industry, specifically electric vehicles.

Lars Carlstrom, founder of Britishvolt, a U.K. manufacturer of lithium ion batteries, said to Southern Business & Development and SouthernAutoCorridor.com about the effect of the U.S. rejoining the Paris accord will have on the automotive industry: “Now that the US is returning to the Paris Climate agreement, the future of the automotive industry has received a huge boost. The U.S. has the second-highest consumption of vehicles in the world per 1,000 people and re-signing the Paris Climate agreement is only going to increase the demand for electric vehicles, gigafactories and boost the production of batteries,” Carlstrom said.

Automotive EV deals keep popping up in the South

Hitachi Automotive, a well-known Kentucky employer, has announced its Automotive Electric Motor Systems America division will establish a new plant in Berea, Ky. The facility will make motors for electric vehicles, many of which will be made in Kentucky. The deal is expected to create 200 jobs in Berea, locate in the Eastern part of the state in the mountains of Appalachia.

South Carolina ports are dealing

The Port of Charleston, which is a major vehicle export facility because of the BMW plant in South Carolina, capped its 2020 year with its strongest December in history. Vehicle volumes were up almost 30 percent from last year. The port handled 135,000 vehicles and 1.2 million containers units in the 2020 fiscal year.

Mercedes to build electric SUVs at Alabama plant starting in 2022

In the winter quarter, Mercedes-Benz officials announced the German automaker will begin assembly of electric SUVs in 2022. Mercedes announced it will launch six electric versions of its vehicles in 2022, including the EQE SUV and EQS SUV to be assembled at its Vance, Ala., plant. Batteries made in Bibb County, Ala., will be used on those electric SUVs.

Tier 1 auto parts supplier expanding in Elizabethtown, Ky.

Mexican automotive parts supplier Metalsa is expanding its truck vehicle frame plant in Elizabethtown, Ky. The plant is the largest for the company in the U.S. with over 1,800 workers. The new expansion will add 300 jobs.

Auto parts manufacturer to locate facility in West Virginia

Speedway Motors, a maker of auto parts, is opening a new distribution center in Kearneysville, W.Va. The deal will create 25 jobs.

German company that serves the auto industry locates Alabama plant

Heiche Surface Technologies, a German manufacturer of advanced metal coatings used in the automotive industry, is setting up a new facility in Jasper, Ala. The company will occupy a speculative building in the Jasper Industrial Park. The deal will create 73 jobs.

Tesla to locate solar energy division in Palm Beach County

The electric vehicle company Tesla is opening a new solar energy division in Palm Beach County. The company will hire 130 in the deal.

Carvana opens distribution center in Arkansas

E-commerce car sales company Carvana has opened a $40 million vehicle inspection and distribution center in West Memphis, Ark. The project will create 400 jobs.

Self-driving firm adding jobs in Southwest Virginia

Torc Robotics, a Virginia-based company, is expanding in Blacksburg, Va., at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. The company that develops self-driving systems, is expected to create 350 jobs.

Volkswagen building battery lab in Chattanooga

German automaker VW broke ground on a new battery engineering lab at its assembly plant site in Chattanooga, Tenn., in the winter quarter. VW has commenced construction on large facilities at its plant in Chattanooga, including a 564,000-square-foot electric vehicle line and a 198,000-square-foot battery pack manufacturing facility. The $22 million battery lab will test vehicle batteries made on site.

Electric vehicle startup picks Charlotte for HQ

U.K. electric vehicle startup Arrival has chosen Charlotte for its North American headquarters. The London company that will develop lightweight commercial vehicles, is investing $3 million and hiring 150 as it starts up.

Electric auto battery companies continue to make deals in the South

Some lithium-ion battery makers like SK, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Nissan have already spent billions to set up their fuel for the cars they build. However, smaller companies are joining the electric battery fray, including Amperex Technology Kentucky. That company is setting up shop in Glasgow, Ky., in what is a $8.5 million deal. That deal will create 350 jobs.

Japan-based Taica Cubic Printing expands Clark County, Ky., manufacturing plant

Japan-based Taica Cubic Printing, which provides printing and paint application for automotive suppliers, plans to expand its manufacturing plant in Clark County. The $4.4 million investment is expected to create 20 new jobs.

Joint venture Iwis-Daido locates manufacturing in Murray, Ky.

Iwis-Daido, a new joint venture between Iwis Engine Systems and Daido Corp. of America, will invest $2.7 million and produce automotive engine chains in Murray, Ky. The project is expected to create 37 jobs.

Canada-based auto components maker expands Tennessee factory

Windsor Mold, parent company of Canada-based Tenneplas, will invest $3.5 million in a 37,500-square-foot expansion of its operations complex in Giles County, Tenn. The company plans to create 40 jobs.

Auto parts retailer locates distribution hub in Jax

1A Auto, an online-only aftermarket auto parts retailer, will locate its Southeast U.S. distribution operations in Jacksonville, Fla. The Massachusetts-based company plans to create 30 new jobs initially, and hopes to grow to 100 jobs within the first couple of years.

Michelin planning $175 million investment in South Carolina

Michelin North America is planning to invest up to $175 million in equipment and machinery in Spartanburg and Greenville counties. Headquartered in Greenville, the tire maker is seeking to update its 25-year tax break agreements with both counties, which date back to 1996. Michelin says it is committed to investing $75 million in its Spartanburg County facilities and $100 million in its Greenville County facilities.

Stanley Engineered Fastening plans expansion and 49 new jobs in Kentucky

One of Hopkinsville’s oldest industrial companies will create 49 jobs paying an average of $34 an hour after it completes a $6 million expansion. Stanley Engineered Fastening is a division of Stanley Black and Decker. It produces fasteners and other components used in assembly for several industries, including automotive and general manufacturing.

Turkish auto supplier plans HQ in Georgia

Teklas, a manufacturer of electric vehicle parts based in Turkey, will invest $6.5 million to open its first North American facility and headquarters in Calhoun, Ga. The project is expected to create 120 jobs in Gordon County.

Auto supplier Mobis bringing 120 jobs to Birmingham area

Auto supplier Mobis Alabama announced it is expanding into the Birmingham metro area with a $15.8 million new facility that is expected to support 120 jobs. The company, a subsidiary of Hyundai Mobis, announced plans to open its second Alabama facility at the Jefferson County Metropolitan Industrial Park in McCalla. Mobis currently operates a facility in Montgomery County that supplies the Hyundai plant in Montgomery and Kia plant in West Point, Ga.

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Author: Stacy Randle