March 2020

March 2020

Auburn, Ala., auto supplier plans $24 million expansion
Germany-based wheel manufacturer Borbet Alabama is planning a $23.9 million expansion of its Auburn operation, creating 25 jobs over the next two years. The company makes light metal alloy wheels for the automotive industry.

Volkswagen Chattanooga ramps up hiring
Volkswagen Chattanooga announced its goal of hiring up to 600 production employees over the next three months. “As we continue to grow our Tennessee operations as Volkswagen’s North American hub for electric vehicle manufacturing, we must also grow our team,” said Tom du Plessis, president and CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga.

Eastman coating Martinsville, Va., with growth and jobs
Investing more than $50 million in the Martinsville area over the past eight years, Eastman Chemical Company, headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., has continued to solidify its claims as a leading manufacturer of high-performance window tint and paint protection film for automotive applications and window film for residential and commercial applications. The company’s recently announced move to the former Stanley Furniture building was one of the largest expansions the Martinsville area experienced in 2019.

Toyota Financial Services opens hub in Georgia
Toyota Financial Services — the finance and insurance brand for Toyota in the United States — will open a new office in Alpharetta and become one of three “hub” locations for the company that support automotive dealers across the nation. The investment of more than $8 million will bring 150 new jobs to Fulton County.

Sonic Automotive to locate regional HQ in Gwinnett County, Ga.
Sonic Automotive, a Fortune 500 Company and one of the largest retailers of new and pre-owned vehicles in the United States, will locate a dealership and regional headquarters for EchoPark Automotive in Duluth, creating 130 new jobs and investing $20 million in the project.

Auto supplier announces $58 million expansion in Anderson, S.C.
NTN Driveshaft has announced a $58 million expansion and the addition of 140 new employees at its facility in Anderson. The company, headquartered in Japan, first announced the construction of a new plant in Anderson in 2016 with an initial investment of $84.5 million and the creation of 300 jobs.

Manufacturer expands Kentucky plant
Logan Corporation, a dump truck bed manufacturer, will expand its plant in Salyersville, Ky. The company plans to invest $1.2 million.

Autozone readies for downtown Memphis expansion
A building permit was just filed for AutoZone’s previously announced $145 million downtown digital expansion project. In addition to work at AutoZone’s headquarters, the expansion will also include two other buildings in Memphis, Tenn. In total, the project is expected to create 130 jobs.

Continental to invest $100 million in Texas
Michigan-based Continental, an automotive parts manufacturer, is investing $100 million in a new plant in New Braunfels, Texas. The project will retain 400 jobs and create 130 more. The company will make radar sensors for the automotive industry at the new facility.

Truck manufacturer breaks ground on Alabama expansion
Navistar broke ground on an expansion of its plant in Huntsville in the winter quarter. The company assembles commercial trucks and buses. The deal is expected to result in 145 new jobs, doubling the plant’s current workforce.

Truck manufacturer to expand in rural Virginia
Custom Truck One Source, a manufacturer of specialized truck and heavy equipment, is investing $2.6 million to expand its operations in Bedford County, Va. The project will create 61 jobs.

Auto supplier to create more than 300 jobs in Tennessee
Adient, a manufacturer of automotive seating, is investing $23.5 million in its facility in Lexington, Tenn. The Michigan-based company will create 330 jobs in the deal.

Mack Trucks to open new Virginia facility
Mack Trucks will assemble a new line of medium-duty trucks in Roanoke County, Va. The company, a Volvo subsidiary, announced in the winter it will invest $13 million to open the new plant. The deal will create 250 jobs.

February 2020

February 2020

The overall automotive industry is in flux, but not in Alabama
Nashville-based Nissan is cutting production worldwide. GM closed several plants last year in North America. But in Alabama, all four of the state’s automakers are expanding. Alabama is fifth largest in the nation in production of cars and light trucks. It is the third largest state in vehicle exports. Here is what is going on as of the winter quarter at Alabama’s automotive plants:

Mercedes-Benz – Tuscaloosa, Ala.
In 2018, Mercedes announced a $1 billion expansion, including a 1 million-square-foot electric battery plant in nearby Bibb County. The expansion also called for a Consolidation Center that houses vehicle kits to ship overseas. Also, the company has built a 1.3 million-square-foot after sales hub.

Honda – Lincoln, Ala.
Honda has been involved in an $85 million expansion at its plant that houses 4,500 workers. Honda also operates an engine plant onsite. Since 2001, Honda has invested more than $2.6 billion in its East Alabama assembly plant.

Hyundai – Montgomery, Ala.
Hyundai is finishing up a $388 million engine shop. In November, the South Korean automaker announced a $410 million expansion for stamping and welding. The company is also adding 200 jobs and suppliers in and around Montgomery and is expected to create 1,000 jobs with this latest expansion. The company is also adding a new line for its Santa Cruz model.

Mazda Toyota – Huntsville, Ala.
Mazda Toyota’s joint Huntsville facility is currently under construction and the first production line will open in early 2021. The $1.6 billion facility has attracted several suppliers to Limestone and Madison counties. Mazda Toyota will employ 4,000 workers and both lines will make Mazda and Toyota models. Annual capacity will be 300,000 vehicles.

Major changes at San Antonio Toyota plant
Toyota officials announced in the winter quarter model changes at their plant in San Antonio, Texas. The plant will stop assembling its best-selling Tacoma pickup truck and move all of that production to a plant in Mexico. To fill the gap of Tacoma truck production, the Japanese automaker will move assembly of its lowest-selling vehicle, the Sequoia SUV, from its plant in Indiana to San Antonio in 2021. Toyota officials said that the San Antonio plant has been at maximum capacity since 2016 and that the move will “make room for market growth and achieve long-term sustainability of future production in San Antonio.” Some auto industry officials speculated that the move will give Toyota the ability to produce more SUVs at the Texas plant in the future. The plant has been open since 2006, and to date, has only produced pickup trucks. Toyota will continue to produce the full-size Tundra pickup in San Antonio.

Toyota to shift production of small pickup to Mexico
Plano, Texas-based Toyota is moving production of its Tacoma small pickup truck from San Antonio to Mexico. . .however, no jobs will be lost in Texas. The San Antonio plant, which houses about 3,200 workers, will begin assembly of the Sequoia large SUV. It also builds the full-size Tundra pickup.

Mazda Toyota accepting applications for Huntsville plant
Mazda Toyota has started accepting applications for production line positions at its new plant in Limestone County, Ala. As of January, the company announced it is accepting applications for 3,000 positions.

Auto supplier setting up shop in Alabama
CCI Manufacturing USA Corp., a Tier 1 auto supplier, is investing $21.5 million to build a new facility in Lawrence County, Ala. The deal will create 28 jobs. The company makes brake fluid and engine coolant.

Auto supplier to expand in Tennessee
Michigan-based Adient is investing over $23 million in its automotive seating plant in Lexington, Tenn. The expansion project will create 330 jobs.

Hyundai made more vehicles at Alabama plant in 2019
South Korea-based Hyundai announced in the winter it produced 336,000 vehicles in 2019 at its plant in Montgomery, Ala. The total was about 4 percent higher than in 2018. The Santa Fe SUV led all vehicles made at the plant last year. The facility also assembles the Sonata and Elantra sedans.

New trucking plant will create 250 jobs in Roanoke, Va.
Mack Trucks recently unveiled its brand-new Roanoke County facility. The $13 million Roanoke Valley Operation will provide 250 jobs.

Automobile terminal at Alabama State Docks will create jobs
An automobile terminal is being constructed at the Alabama State Docks in Mobile. The $60 million, 57-acre terminal will handle shipments of finished automobiles. . .up to 150,000 vehicles annually. The project is a joint venture between Terminal Zarate, based in Argentina, and Neltume Ports, based in Chile.

Georgia lands first Korean supplier to car battery plant
Georgia has landed the first Korean suppler to the electric vehicle battery plant that will serve as the single largest foreign investment in the state’s history. EnChem, which makes electrolytes that go into rechargeable lithium batteries, will build two separate facilities next to the nearly $1.7 billion SK Innovation plant in Jackson County. Combined, the two locations will create 300 jobs with an investment of $61.35 million.

Chinese auto supplier expands in Tennessee
China-based Minth Group, a designer and manufacturer of structural body, trim and decorative parts for the automotive industry, will invest $87 million to expand operations in Lewisburg, Tenn. The automotive supplier will create 254 new jobs in Marshall County.

WABCO expands distribution at its Kentucky plant
WABCO USA plans to triple its employment as it reinvests over $3 million in the distribution portion of its heavy duty truck parts manufacturing and warehousing facility in Hebron, Ky. WABCO currently employs 77 there.

General Motors plans major expansion in Tennessee
General Motors plans to invest $40 million at its Global Propulsion Systems plant in Spring Hill, Tenn. The project will increase capacity of the 5.3L V8 engines for GM’s full-size truck and SUV programs.

GM Arlington moving 300 temps to full-time
Close to 300 temporary workers at General Motors’ largest assembly plant in Arlington, Texas, are being moved up to full-time status, the automaker announced recently. Nationwide, more than 1,350 hourly GM employees at 14 manufacturing plants and other sites in eight states will be elevated to full-time status.

Texas-based Toyota invests $394 million into flying taxis
Toyota Motor Co. is making a $394 million investment in California-based Joby Aviation, one of the handful of companies with the goal of making electric air taxis that shuttle people over gridlocked highways and city streets. Toyota is the lead investor, and makes Joby the best-funded “eVTOL” (electric vertical take-off and landing) startup in a booming category that must still overcome regulatory hurdles and concerns about passenger safety and noise. Joby has raised a total of $720 million.

Volvo building U.S. battery assembly plant in South Carolina
In preparation for bringing a new line of electric vehicles to the U.S. market, Volvo announced it will build a battery assembly plant at its existing facility in Ridgeville, S.C. The plant is part of a $600 million expansion project in Ridgeville, which began rolling out the Swedish automaker’s luxury sport sedan, the S60, in late 2018. The current expansion also includes a second production line for an electrified version of its flagship XC90 crossover. Approximately 1,000 jobs will be created for the XC90 production line, but no word yet on how many jobs might be created for the battery assembly plant.

Ficosa to add 100 jobs in Tennessee
Michigan-based manufacturer of vehicle mirrors and other parts, Ficosa, will discontinue operations at its facility in Shelbyville, Ky., and move the plant’s manufacturing activity to its facility in Cookeville, Tenn. The consolidation will result in 100 new hires at the Shelbyville location.

January 2020

January 2020

Chassis manufacturer expands in South Carolina
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, a manufacturer of vehicle chassis, is expanding its plant in Cherokee County, S.C. The almost $14 million expansion will create 193 jobs.

Auto supplier expands in Henderson, Tenn.
Automotive products manufacturer Arvin Sango will expand its existing operations in Henderson. It supplies stamped auto body parts and door safety parts for the automotive industry. The company’s customers include major brands such as Toyota and Nissan. Sango Co. is headquartered in Japan, and Arvin Sango is headquartered in Indiana. The company is expected to create 153 jobs in Chester County over the next five years.

GM completes $1.4 billion expansion of its large SUV plant in Texas
General Motors has completed the $1.4 billion expansion of its SUV plant in Arlington, Texas. The automaker celebrated by unveiling new generation Chevy Suburban and Tahoe models. The 1.6 million-square-foot addition to the plant that was built in 1954 will bring total square footage to 5.75 million.

German filtration manufacturer expands in Tennessee
MANN+HUMMEL USA, a maker of filtration solutions for automobiles, is investing $15 million at its plant in Dunlap, Tenn. The project will create 50 jobs.

Auto supplier to build new plant in Georgia
Japan-based Mitsui Kinzoku Die-Casting will build a new plant in Spalding County, Ga. The company will invest $20 million in the facility and hire 30 workers where it will make parts for electric vehicles.

Pierburg expanding in Greenville County, S.C.
Pierburg, a manufacturer of components for air supply and emission control, announced plans to expand its existing operations in Greenville County. The $27 million investment will create 95 new jobs. Pierburg is one of three brands under the Rheinmetall Automotive group.

GM investing $1.5 billion in Missouri expansion
General Motors recently confirmed it will invest $1.5 billion to produce its next-generation Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize pickups at its plant in Wentzville, Mo. The plant, where the Chevy Colorado and Express, and the GMC Canyon and Savana are built, currently employs about 4,000 hourly and 330 salaried employees. The announcement represents one of the largest single project investments from the private sector in Missouri.

Auto parts manufacturer to build second plant in Charlotte Region of North Carolina
Cataler North America Corporation, a manufacturer of catalysts for automobiles and engines, will build a new manufacturing plant in Hickory, N.C., creating 151 jobs. The Japanese company will invest a minimum of $42 million in the project in Catawba County.

WABCO expands Kentucky distribution hub
WABCO plans to triple its employment as it invests over $3 million in the distribution portion of its heavy duty truck parts manufacturing and warehousing facility in Hebron, where it currently employs 77 people.

Global Lending Services plans $4.2 million expansion in Greenville, S.C.
Global Lending Services, an automotive lending company, will invest more than $4.2 million to expand its current operations in Greenville. The investment is expected to create 669 new jobs. The company has developed technology to approve customers at competitive rates in less than 20 seconds.

Dennis Eagle establishes operations in Dorchester County, S.C.
U.K.-based manufacturer Dennis Eagle, which designs and manufactures refuse collection vehicles, plans to establish operations in Dorchester County to assemble Elite Chassis for compressed natural gas (CNG) and diesel trucks. The new facility should be operational in 2020, with hiring beginning in the coming months.

Dallas-based Panda Biotech breaks into hemp business
A Dallas-based company is tapping into the Texas’ hemp industry with a new facility that will process the plant and turn it into a material that can be used for clothing, car parts and insulation for houses. Panda Biotech will open a 255,000-square-foot facility in Shallowater, a small town 12 miles northwest of Lubbock. The company plans to hire 20 employees and use hemp that’s grown within a 100-mile radius to reduce transportation costs. Texas state lawmakers legalized the crop in January and will begin issuing licenses to grow hemp in early 2020. Hemp is a type of cannabis. It’s related to marijuana but has low or untraceable amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the psychoactive compound that gives marijuana users a high.

Clark Material Handling completes expansion in Lexington, Ky.
Clark Material Handling announced the completed expansion of its third facility in Kentucky. The Lexington-based company is a manufacturer of forklift trucks and spare parts.

Four hundred new jobs for Chesterfield County, Va.
Governor Ralph Northam announced that Carvana, an e-commerce platform for buying and selling used cars, plans to invest $25 million to establish a new vehicle inspection and reconditioning facility in Chesterfield County. The project will create an estimated 400 new jobs.

Battery maker to invest $10 million, bring 46 jobs to Greensboro, N.C.
Sunlight Systems, a battery maker based in Greece, announced it will open its first U.S. facility next year in Greensboro. The company will invest $10 million and create 46 jobs. Sunlight Batteries will assemble and distribute lithium batteries from the facility.

Top Automotive Deals in the South – Fall 2019

The Southern Auto Corridor’s 10 Largest New and Expanded Manufacturing and Selected Non-Manufacturing Job Announcements

Announcements made in the Fall 2019 Quarter

CompanyJobs$InvN/ELocationDescription
1. Volkswagen1,000$800EChattanooga, Tenn. Auto assembly
2. Morgan Olson700$57NDanville, Va. Van assembly
3. Navistar600$250NSan Antonio, TexasTruck assembly
4. Ford500N/ANHouston, TexasCall center
5. Bharat Forge460$127NSanford, N.C.Auto parts
6. Carvana450$45NBessemer, Ala.Distribution
7. Lear Corp442$12ETuscaloosa, Ala.Auto parts
7. Toyota400$238EGeorgetown, Ky. Auto assembly
8. Carvana400$40NWest Memphis, Ark.Distribution
9. GM400N/AEBowling Green, Ky.Auto assembly
10. Spartan Motors308$1NCharleston, S.C.Truck assembly

($Inv. = Investment in millions – N=New; E=Expansion; R=Relocation)

Sources: RandleReport.com

Top Automotive Deals in the South – Summer 2019

The Southern Auto Corridor’s 10 Largest New and Expanded Manufacturing and Selected Non-Manufacturing Job Announcements

Announcements made in the Summer 2019 Quarter

CompanyJobs$InvN/ELocationDescription
1. Aisin AW900$400NGuadalupe, TexAuto Parts
2. DaikyoNishikawa380$110NHuntsville, Ala.Auto Parts
3. Vuteq200$60NHuntsville, Ala.Auto Parts
4. Mitsubishi Motors200$18RFranklin, Tenn. HQ
5. Faurecia200N/ANBlue Springs, Mo. Auto Parts
6. CRP Industries115$2NConway, S.C.Auto Parts
7. HIROTEC100$48NFayetteville, Tenn. Auto Parts
8. Motus100$15NGadsden, Ala.Auto Parts
9. Hoelzel LP100$6EChattanooga, Tenn.Robotics
10. Love's80$8NMilan, Tenn. Distribution

($Inv. = Investment in millions – N=New; E=Expansion; R=Relocation)

Sources: RandleReport.com

December 2019

December 2019

Mercedes to build luxury SUV at its Alabama plant
Mercedes-Benz is introducing a vehicle that combines the luxury features of its flagship S-Class sedan with the GLS full-size SUV as part of a push to increase profits through sales of upscale cars. The Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 will hit showrooms in the second half of next year, the Daimler AG brand reported. The vehicle, which is powered by a V-8 engine including a 48-volt hybrid system, will be built at Daimler’s factory in Tuscaloosa. Optional features include folding tables and a refrigerator with space for champagne bottles.

Goodyear to consolidate Atlanta facilities to Coweta County, Ga.
In June 2016, the former Orchard Hills Golf Course property on Georgia Highway 16 in Newnan’s southeast side was rezoned as a major industrial and commercial site. In November, Goodyear Tire and Rubber announced it would build a 1.5 million-square-foot facility that will consolidate its Atlanta area distribution centers. The $140 million project will create 250 jobs in Coweta County.

Automotive supplier announces new plant for Georgia
In the fall quarter, Nippon Light Metal Georgia announced it will create 110 jobs while investing $50 million in building a new manufacturing facility in Adairsville. The plant is expected to be operational in 2022. Nippon Light Metal Georgia specializes in aluminum products for the automotive industry.

Megasite in Montgomery, Ala., receives certification
The Montgomery Mega Site has received an Alabama AdvantageSite designation. The AdvantageSite program requires that community economic development organizations provide documentation specific to a proposed industrial site, including a set of standard data related to ownership/control, environmental and geotechnical conditions, and infrastructure status. Sites must also meet size, zoning and accessibility requirements. The Montgomery Mega Site is a 1,842-acre site located approximately 2.5 miles (5 minutes) from Interstate 65. The site can be accessed by Hyundai Blvd or U.S. Highway 331. The eastern boundary of the main site and the western boundary of the out-parcel are served by rail. All utilities are at the site.

Hyundai to build pickup at Montgomery, Ala., plant
Korean automaker Hyundai is entering the U.S. pickup truck market by building the vehicle at its plant in Montgomery, Ala. The company will invest $410 million to add the line and create 200 jobs. Expected to go into production in 2021, Hyundai has billed the model, called Santa Cruz, a “compact utility vehicle,” but it features an open truck bed.

California electronics manufacturer to locate in Texas
All Quality & Services is moving into an existing facility in Garland, Texas following an $800,000 renovation. The company makes computer components such as modules, modems, semiconductors and circuit boards that are used in medical, automotive, mobile telecommunications, gaming, industrial and other industries. The deal will create 150 jobs.

Volkswagen will build its first electric vehicle in Tennessee
German automaker Volkswagen announced in the fall it will build its first electric vehicle at its plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. The $800 million project to build another line will create 1,000 jobs. The expansion also includes a 564,000-square-foot addition to the body shop and a battery pack assembly facility.

Kia celebrates 10 years of production in West Georgia
South Korea-based Kia Motors celebrated 10 years of vehicle production in West Point, Ga. The plant is the first for Kia in the U.S., and supports more than 15,000 jobs in West Georgia. It assembled the first vehicle in November 2009 and currently has a capacity of building 340,000 vehicles per year.

Supplier base for Mazda Toyota growing in Northern Alabama
The joint-venture auto plant project between Mazda and Toyota is seeing a large supply chain investment in the Huntsville area. Already, five suppliers to the plant have announced projects worth $440 million and that is expected to increase substantially before the assembly plant opens in 2021. Mazda Toyota Manufacturing USA will open with a capacity for 150,000 vehicles to be built in the first year.

Continental AG opens Mississippi tire plant
In November, Germany-based Continental AG opened its tire plant in Central Mississippi. The $1.45 billion facility on 900 acres is one of the largest projects ever announced in the Jackson, Miss., region. The plant is expected to house 2,500 workers within the next nine years.

Topre America plans $63 million expansion in Smyrna, Tenn.
Topre America will add 51 advanced manufacturing jobs to its automotive stamping operation near the Nissan manufacturing plant. The new jobs are part of a $63 million capital investment and the fourth expansion by the Japanese-based company in five years.

O’Reilly Auto Parts distribution center creating 380 jobs in Horn Lake, Miss.
Retailer O’Reilly Auto Parts is locating a distribution center in Horn Lake by retrofitting a 580,000-square-foot facility the company purchased in February. The project will create 380 jobs.

Ford planning $1 billion investment in Louisville operations
Ford Motor Co. agrees to invest more than $1 billion in its Louisville operations in a proposed contract with United Auto Workers. The agreement includes a commitment from Ford to create 8,500 new or secured jobs as well as invest $6 billion in products across its operations. One billion of that investment will come at the Kentucky Truck Plant to support an all-new Super Duty F-Series truck as well as all-new Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator vehicles. Another $100 million in new investment is planned at the Louisville Assembly Plant to support continued production of the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair.

FleetPride plans distribution hub in Georgia
FleetPride, a distributor of truck and trailer parts, will open a 256,000-square-foot distribution center currently under construction near Atlanta in Lilburn, Ga. The Lilburn facility is scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2020.

Carvana delivering 450 jobs in Alabama
Carvana, an e-commerce platform for buying and selling used cars, plans to invest more than $45 million to construct an Alabama distribution and fulfillment center, and create more than 300 jobs. Construction of a 200,000-square-foot distribution facility in Bessemer is expected to begin in April 2020 and open by December 2021. The total project is about $47 million in capital investment.

Hyundai begins production of redesigned Sonata
Alabama’s Hyundai plant launched mass production of the redesigned Sonata sedan in November, another milestone for the $1.8 billion, 3,000-worker Montgomery facility. The 2020 Sonata features improved safety, technology, performance and fuel efficiency, along with an all-new sporty design that is a departure from the brand’s traditional styling.

Livent expands in North Carolina
The Livent Corp. is expanding its facilities in Bessemer City, N.C., in a $16 million effort that will add 30 new jobs and increase production capacities. The expansion will allow Livent to increase production of lithium hydroxide, which is an essential component of the advanced lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, as well as in industrial greasers and other applications. In addition to the 30 new jobs at the facility, work on the expansion is expected to employ 85 construction workers.

Two auto suppliers creating over 500 jobs in Tuscaloosa County, Ala.
The Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority approved tax abatements for projects by two automotive parts suppliers that are expected to create more than 500 jobs. International Automotive Components Group North will invest $22.3 million and create 119 jobs. Lear Corp. plans to make a $12.4 million investment in an expansion, which is expected to create 442 jobs.