December 2021

A city is created in West Tennessee

Ford announced its plans in September to create Blue Oval City at the West Memphis I-40 megasite in Stanton, Tenn. The new “city” includes an investment of nearly $6 billion to make electric vehicles, including a next-generation electric Ford F-Series model. The city will also include, counting suppliers, up to 6,000 new jobs. Over $800 million has been earmarked in incentives for Ford in the deal. Earlier in 2021, Ford announced it had increased its planned EV investment to $30 billion by 2025.

 

Big battery plant in middle Tennessee on schedule

The construction of the Ultium Cells LLC battery plant in Spring Hill, Tenn., is on schedule as of the fall quarter, company officials announced. The 2.8 million-square-foot facility is a joint venture between General Motors and LG Energy Solution. GM operates a large assembly plant in Spring Hill. One of the models that will use the batteries is a new one called the Cadillac Lyriq luxury crossover, Cadillac’s very first all-electric vehicle. The project will create 1,300 new jobs.

 

U.S. automakers beg Biden administration to waive tariffs on components from China

All domestic and foreign automotive OEMs and suppliers have pleaded with the Biden administration to lift tariffs on a wide range of components from China, especially those for electric-car batteries. Many of the components are not made anywhere but in China. One of those products is artificial or natural graphite. Big suppliers with plants in the South, such as Magna and SK Innovation, are asking for respite from tariffs on all the myriad switches, sensors, motors and other parts that go into a vehicle.

 

Automotive manufacturing jobs lead job surge

Manufacturing job growth leaped in October as motor vehicles and parts manufacturers hired almost as many people as all other manufacturing sectors combined. In October, manufacturing added 60,000 jobs of the 531,000 jobs overall as the unemployment rate edged down to 4.6 percent. Automotive added 27,700 jobs as the electric vehicle market is just now really getting its legs under it.

 

Hyundai expects electric vehicle production to start next year

Korean automaker Hyundai will begin EV production on the Genesis GV70 EV at its plant in Montgomery, Ala., beginning in 2022. The assembly of electric vehicles in Alabama will be the first for Korean automakers. The company is also counting on proposed subsidies for electric vehicles produced on U.S. soil.

 

Ford, a union company, settles in West Tennessee

In the fall quarter, Ford announced it will assemble electric vehicles and batteries at a massive site just east of Memphis. The nearly 6,000-job, nearly $6 billion deal with SK Innovation, along with a companion facility in Hardin County in Central Kentucky, will blaze a new trail when it comes to the automotive industry morphing into electric innovation. It remains to be seen if the facilities will become unionized.

 

Is an Amazon-backed electric truck set for the Atlanta area?

While Fort Worth is a finalist for a $5 billion electric truck and SUV factory, it’s looking as if a site east of Atlanta may have the inside track on the big deal. The factory would include a new battery and vehicle assembly plant.

 

Is Toyota eyeing megasite in North Carolina for electric battery plant?

Rumors have it that Japanese automaker Toyota is eyeing the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite for a large electric battery plant to ramp up electric vehicle manufacturing in the U.S. The site is a 1,825-acre site rezoned for heavy industry located near the center of the state. No formal agreement has been reached.

 

Mazda to assemble midsize crossover SUV at new Alabama plant

In the fall quarter, Mazda unveiled the first vehicle it will assemble at the new plant it shares with Toyota. The new model will be called the CX-50 and will join Toyota’s Corolla Cross, a smaller SUV that will also be built at the new plant. The $2.3 billion, 4,000-employee plant will be in full production sometime in 2022.

 

Honda marks 20 years of production at its Alabama plant

In November, Honda marked 20 years of production at its assembly plant in Lincoln, Ala. The plant has expanded numerous times with several different models, mostly light trucks. The Japanese automaker also makes V-6 engines at the $2 billion facility that houses about 4,500 workers.

 

Toyota West Virginia expands assembly plant in Buffalo, W.Va.

Toyota West Virginia plans to invest $240 million to expand its assembly plant and add a dedicated production line of hybrid transaxles in Buffalo. The new investment will allow workers there to diversify their skillset and play a larger role in Toyota’s future producing electric vehicles in North America.

 

Auto products maker establishing East Coast hub near Charlotte, N.C.

Kentucky-based Holley Performance Products, a manufacturer of high-performance automotive products for cars and trucks, will invest $12.3 million to establish its East Coast hub in Mooresville.

 

NOVONIX investing $160 million Chattanooga, Tenn.

Most of the materials used to make batteries for electric vehicles come from Asia, but NOVONIX is about to change that. The company will invest $160 million and hire 300 workers for its new manufacturing facility called “Riverside Recharged” in Chattanooga.

 

BMW Manufacturing expands South Carolina presence with logistics center

BMW Manufacturing is expanding its operations in Spartanburg County with the construction of a new $100 million logistics center. The facility, which will be located on 120 acres, will enhance BMW’s logistics operations supplying parts to the company’s 7-million-square-foot factory in Greer, SC.

 

Dr. Schneider Automotive plans Mississippi operation

Germany-based Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems, a supplier of manufacturing air ventilation systems and window frame trim, plans to establish operations in Baldwyn, Miss. The $22.5 million project is expected to create up to 400 jobs over six years.

 

Nemak expanding in Glasgow, Ky.

Manufacturer Nemak announced it will create 170 well-paying jobs with a $27 million expansion of its Nemak Kentucky operation in Glasgow to support future electric vehicle-related business. Nemak’s investment will support upgrades and new equipment at its facility there.

 

SKC to invest $473 million in semiconductor plant in Georgia

South Korea’s SKC, a maker of plastic films, is set to invest $473 million to locate a semiconductor parts venture at its existing plant in Georgia. SK also is home to SK Innovation, which has invested $2.6 billion to put an electric-vehicle battery plant in Jackson County and plans to ramp up a second plant on the complex as demand grows.

 

Central Motor Wheel of America opens 145-job expansion in Paris, Ky.

Central Motor Wheel of America recently held the grand opening of the expansion of its existing operations in Bourbon County. The automotive wheel manufacturer will add 145 new jobs.

November 2021

Toyota announces $461 million investment in Kentucky plant

Toyota is investing $461 million into its first U.S. plant in Georgetown, Ky., to add new technology, increase production flexibility and reduce its carbon footprint. The announcement does not include new jobs at the central Kentucky facility, but officials said 1,400 temporary jobs would be converted into permanent positions.

 

France-based Plastic Omnium expands in Anderson, S.C.

Plastic Omnium, an automotive equipment provider, will invest more than $17.7 million to expand operations in Anderson. The project is expected to create 76 jobs. The expansion will allow the company to produce bumpers and tailgates for General Motors’ new Lyric electric vehicle.

 

Faurecia to expand operations in Spring Hill, Tenn.

An automotive components manufacturer will expand its operations, creating 171 new jobs in Spring Hill. Faurecia will invest $18 million to expand its existing facility there to increase manufacturing capabilities, specifically the production of door panel assemblies for several major OEMs.

 

Plastikon Industries plans Texas manufacturing center

California-based Plastikon Industries, an automotive manufacturer and supplier of interior components to companies such as Tesla and Toyota, will open a new facility in Kyle, Texas. The $13.6 project is expected to create 200 full-time jobs in the region.

 

Toyota Motor Manufacturing announces new production line for 2022 Tundra engines

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama marked 20 years in Huntsville, Ala., by announcing that two new engines will be built at the Huntsville facility – a hybrid electric-powered twin-turbo V6 and a gas-powered twin-turbo V6, both of which will power the 2022 Toyota Tundra.

 

Mercedes adding hundreds of jobs in Alabama by year’s end

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International (MBUSI) plans to hire several hundred permanent production team members before the end of 2021 to meet growing demand for its vehicles and prepare for new milestones, especially the production of two electric vehicles – the EQS and EQE sport utilities – in 2022. MBUSI is opening an EV battery pack assembly facility on a second Alabama campus in Bibb County.

 

Nissan to upgrade Mississippi and Tennessee plants amid EV push

Japan’s Nissan Motor Company will spend about $700 million at two U.S. manufacturing plants to implement new technologies to make electric vehicles. The investment is part of a $1.2 billion global investment to make the automaker’s global factories more efficient, less polluting and ready to produce next-generation cars such as electric vehicles. The Nissan plants in Canton, Miss., and Smyrna, Tenn., are part of the ramp-up.

 

Tesla headquarters moving to Texas

Tesla will move its headquarters to Austin, Texas, following through on a threat Elon Musk made last year when tensions between the billionaire and California boiled over. Musk announced his decision in October. The shortage of affordable housing and long commute times are among factors limiting how much the company can expand in the San Francisco Bay area it’s called home for 18 years, he said.

October 2021

Two huge Ford Motor deals

Ford Motor and battery supplier SK Innovation have planned to invest over $11 billion at two sites in the South, one in Kentucky and the other in Tennessee. The projects will produce electric vehicles and batteries. The two sites are the Memphis Regional Megasite and the Glendale Megasite in Hardin County, Ky. The Tennessee project will include a 3,600-acre campus, a supplier park, recycling center and a new assembly plant to build F-Series trucks. The two projects are expected to create almost 11,000 full-time jobs and are part of President Joe Biden’s call for companies to onshore supply chains amid the global shortage of semiconductor chips and the logistics backlog that is being experience in the supply chain from foreign countries. The state of Tennessee invested more than $174 million on improvements at the Memphis Regional Megasite. Tens of millions have also been spent on the Glendale Megasite in central Kentucky over the years as well. That site came in second in the Hyundai site search that ended up in Montgomery, Ala., nearly 20 years ago. The joint venture on both sites will be called BlueOvalSK.

Global automotive supplier Auria to expand in South Carolina

Auria Spartanburg has announced that it is expanding its plant in Spartanburg to meet growing demand. The $12 million deal will create 103 new jobs. The company makes flooring, acoustic systems and other parts for a variety of automakers.

Auto parts supplier relocating to Texas site

Vehicle Accessories Inc. plans to relocate 315 manufacturing jobs and its $13.5 million annual payroll from Sunnyvale, Calif., and other locations to Mesquite, Texas. The company plans to combine operations in Sunnyvale, Buffalo (N.Y.), Toronto, Ontario and Magog, Quebec, to the new Mesquite location.  The relocation project will create 315 jobs.

Toyota celebrates 25 years in West Virginia

In the fall quarter, Japanese automaker Toyota celebrated a major milestone— the company has operated in Buffalo, W.Va., for 25 years. The company makes four- and six-cylinder engines there are well as transmissions and hybrid trans-axles.

International automotive manufacturer to open facility in Central Texas

The Greater San Marcos Partnership announced in the fall that Plastikon Industries will open a new factory in Kyle, Texas. The company supplies interior components to companies like Tesla and Toyota. The $13.6 million deal will create 200 jobs.

Toyota again expanding its Alabama engine plant

Japanese automaker Toyota will be the exclusive North American producer of the twin-turbo V6 engine for the 2022 Tundra. The manufacturer said the twin-turbo V6 engine line represents a $288 million investment in Toyota Alabama operations and an added 450 jobs, bringing total employment to 1,800.

REHAU announces another expansion in Cullman, Ala.

German auto supplier REHAU is expanding again in Cullman, Ala. In the summer, REHAU officials said they would spend $50 million at the Alabama plant for new equipment and tooling. REHAU’s largest customer in Alabama is the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa County.

Carvana creating jobs in Oklahoma

Auto retailer Carvana is investing in an inspection and reconditioning center in Oklahoma City that’s expected to bring more than 350 new jobs to the metro.

Auto supplier to establish first U.S. factory in Northeast Tennessee

Sungwoo Hitech America will place its first U.S. factory in Telford, Tenn. The company plans to produce bumpers, rear components, and side framing for a variety of automakers including BMW, Hyundai, Kia and Volkswagen. Approximately 115 jobs will be created.

Audi could build electric vehicles at Volkswagen’s plant in Tennessee.

Audi’s parent company is VW and the chances of the German automaker building EVs in Chattanooga are growing stronger every day. Audi shares the same all-electric architecture as the ID.4 model which it builds in Chattanooga.

September 2021

Could Audi build electric vehicles at VW plant?

German automaker Audi builds it EVs in Germany and Belgium. At some point it will need to build electric vehicles in the U.S. like everyone else, but it is unlikely for Audi to build a whole new plant with a facility in Mexico and its parent company VW already preparing for EV manufacturing. One clue suggests Audi, if it builds EVs in the U.S., would do it at parent company VW’s plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Audi shares the same all-electric architecture as the ID.4 — VW Group’s MEB platform — which would make production of the Audi Q4 e-tron quite possible in Tennessee.

 

German auto parts supplier expanding again in Cullman, Ala.

German auto supplier REHAU plans to invest $50 million in expanding its plant in Cullman, Ala. The company is a major supplier to the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Ala. REHAU will hire 150 workers in the deal.

 

Martinrea expansion means more than $31 million investment in Kentucky

Martinrea Hopkinsville, a Tier 1 automotive supplier of lightweight structures and propulsion systems, will expand its presence in Christian County, Ky., with an investment of more than $31 million that will create 33 jobs.

 

Sungwoo Hitech locating first U.S. manufacturing operations in Washington County, Tenn.

Sungwoo Hitech will invest $40 million to locate its first U.S. manufacturing operations in Telford, Tenn. The Korean automotive supplier will create 117 new jobs to manufacture metal stamped components — bumpers, rear components and side framing — for customers including General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen and BMW.

 

Another tech company heads to McKinney, Texas

Xcelerate Auto, a fintech company that focuses on electric vehicles, has relocated its headquarters from Frisco, Texas, to McKinney. Xcelerate provides funding support and other products to emerging electric vehicle manufacturers.

 

Amazon-backed Rivian in talks for $5 billion Texas plant

Rivian Automotive, the electric-vehicle startup backed by Amazon, is in talks to invest at least $5 billion to build a factory near Fort Worth. The facility would be able to produce 200,000 vehicles a year and would create at least 7,500 jobs by 2027.

 

$40 million steel plant planned for Madison, Ala.

Three companies are collaborating on a $40 million factory in Madison to supply needed steel components for auto manufacturers. Madison Metal Processing will begin later this year supplying steel blanks – the precursor for automotive surface body parties – for Mazda Toyota Manufacturing in Huntsville, as well as other automotive suppliers. The factory will hire about 40.

 

Diode Dynamics builds HQ in St. Charles, Mo.

Automotive LED lighting manufacturer Diode Dynamics is constructing a 70,000-square-foot headquarters facility on 10 acres in St. Charles. The project is expected to create 36 new jobs and the company will move all of its existing employees from Earth City, Mo.

 

Firestone breaks ground on Kentucky project

A global auto parts supplier has broken ground on a $51 million project adding 250 jobs at a rural Kentucky plant in an expansion tied to auto industry plans to ramp up electric vehicle production. Firestone Industrial Products was joined by state and local officials as construction officially began on the expansion in Williamsburg, Ky. The project is largely geared toward producing air suspension systems for electric vehicles.

August 2021

Global shortage of computer chips has effect on the Southern Auto Corridor

The pandemic has created disruptions in the supply chain, especially the computer chip industry. Experts estimate that automakers in the U.S. will assemble 1 million fewer vehicles because of the dearth of computer chips. This in turn has created inflation in both used and new cars.

 

Amazon-based electric vehicle start-up Rivian announces it will build another assembly plant

In the summer quarter, electric vehicle start-up Rivian said it would build another assembly plant. The company has raised $10.5 billion to date and is currently building its first plant in Illinois.

 

Toyota celebrates 10 millionth Camry at Kentucky plant

Toyota’s first wholly owned vehicle plant in North America, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) in Georgetown, recently produced its 10 millionth Camry. Toyota also celebrated 35 years of operating the plant.

 

Volkswagen Chattanooga ending sedan assembly to concentrate only on SUVs

Volkswagen is dumping the Passat sedan production at its Tennessee plant. The plant is readying for all SUV production and a massive effort at electrifying all its vehicles in Chattanooga.

 

Kaiser Aluminum relocating HQ to Williamson County, Tenn.

Kaiser Aluminum officials announced that the company will relocate its corporate headquarters from Foothill Ranch, Calif., to Franklin, Tenn. The producer of specialty aluminum products for aerospace, automotive and other industries will invest $3 million and create 80 jobs in Franklin.

 

Auto supplier adding 150 jobs in Elizabethtown, Ky.

Metalsa is hiring to fill at least 150 new positions after expanding its Elizabethtown plant to handle new products for electric vehicles. The Tier 1 auto supplier currently produces frames and other parts for the Ford Expedition, Navigator and F-150. Now, the facility is also going to make frames and battery trays for Ford and RIvian electric vehicles.

 

South Carolina Ports breaks another record

South Carolina Ports celebrates its strongest fiscal year on record for containers handled at the Port of Charleston. SC Ports handled 2.55 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) at Wando Welch Terminal, North Charleston Terminal and Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal in fiscal year 2021 (which ended June 30). Vehicles remained a strong business segment, up 27 percent compared to the prior year.

July 2021

New United States Postal Service vehicle plant in Spartanburg, S.C., to house over 1,000 new jobs

Oshkosh Defense will invest $155 million to locate a plant that will produce the next generation USPS delivery vehicle. The company will assemble zero-emission battery electric vehicles and fuel-efficient low-emission internal combustion engine vehicles that will replace existing USPS delivery trucks. The plant will be built in Spartanburg, S.C., and create more than 1,000 jobs.

 

EV battery maker expands big plant in Chattanooga, Tenn.

NOVONIX, a maker of materials for the batteries used in electric vehicles, announced a nice deal in Chattanooga, Tenn., this summer. The company is investing $160 million and adding almost 300 jobs in the expansion, which will for the most part support Volkswagen’s manufacturing of electric vehicles at its plant in Chattanooga.

 

Big EV automotive deal in rural Oklahoma

It has been reported by more than one media property that a site in Oklahoma came in second for the massive truck plant that Elon Musk and Tesla is locating in Austin near its airport. The second-place prize may be electric car manufacturer Canoo. The startup EV maker announced plans to build a $400 million plant at the MidAmerica Industrial Park, located in Pryor, just East of Tulsa. The deal, as announced, will create 2,000 jobs. The site, a former military base, is unique in that it is over 9,000 acres. Canoo Canoo execs cited Oklahoma’s “energy-forward initiatives” as a major factor in its decision to locate the “mega microfactory.”

 

Big auto parts company expands in Tennessee

Martinrea announced in the summer quarter that it will expand its facilities in Robertson County, Tenn. The auto parts manufacturer will invest $40 million and hire 97 in the deal.

 

Rolls-Royce’s MTU Aiken County, S.C., is expanding

Rolls-Royce’s MTU has announced it will make a $17 million investment in its plant at its MTU Aiken manufacturing facility in Graniteville, S.C. The deal will add 20 new jobs at the plant to remanufacture and overhaul used engines.

 

Graphite products plant to be built in Alabama

Westwater Resources, doing business as Alabama Graphite Products, will build a graphite processing plant in Coosa County, Ala., the company announced this summer. The graphite is used in the making of batteries for electric vehicles. The $80 million project will create 100 new jobs, but the mining of the mineral will result in a $124 million investment in its second phase.

 

KC Logistics invests $12 million in Athens, Ala.

KC Logistics is set to invest $12 million in a new project that will bring around 100 jobs to Athens. The company will transport seats from TBAKI to Mazda Toyota Manufacturing.

 

Flex-N-Gate expansion to create 91 jobs in Rockford, Tenn.

Flex-N-Gate in Rockford will grow its workforce by 91 new jobs. The automotive parts supplier is investing $5.5 million to upgrade and expand its manufacturing facility and increase production of its lighting materials.

 

Volvo invests $118 million to produce electric car in South Carolina

Volvo Cars says the company will invest $118 million into its plant in Ridgeville to build the fully electric Polestar 3 vehicles. The Polestar 3 is the third vehicle scheduled to be built at the South Carolina plant. This expansion brings the total Volvo Cars investment in South Carolina to more than $1.2 billion.

 

New automotive supplier coming to Greenville County, S.C.

A Michigan-based auto supply company, Gissing North America, will bring 116 new jobs and an $18 million dollar investment to Greenville County. The company will produce overhead, interior, exterior and cargo management components.

 

Manufacturer to locate HQ in Olive Branch, Miss.

Edelbrock, a manufacturer of specialty auto parts for the aftermarket, will soon be locating its headquarters in Olive Branch, creating 200 new jobs in the process.

 

Carlotz expanding in Richmond, Va.

CarLotz, the nation’s largest consignment-to-retail used vehicle marketplace, will expand its headquarters in Richmond, creating 192 new jobs.

 

Frauenthal Gnotec announces 82 new jobs for Laurens County, S.C.

Frauenthal Gnotec announced in June it will invest $8.2 million to establish operations in Fountain Inn and expects to create 82 jobs. The Swedish manufacturer of metal components for the automotive industry will expand production into an existing 68,500-square-foot facility there.

 

Seating manufacturer bringing 100 jobs to Franklin, Tenn.

A South Korean manufacturer plans to bring 100 jobs to a new Franklin stamping plant. Daechang Seat Company manufactures metal seat components for Subaru, Hyundai and Kia.

 

Firestone to add 250 jobs in Whitley County, Ky

Firestone Industrial Products plans to create 250 full-time jobs in Williamsburg with a $50 million expansion of its automotive air springs manufacturing plant.

June 2021

GM will support UAW at its two new battery plants

In May, General Motors announced it will support union efforts to organize at the two U.S. electric vehicle battery factories that it’s building in Ohio and Tennessee with its joint-venture partner Ultium LLC. The union is working to create a wage of about $31 per hour at the two plants.

 

Hyundai to invest billions in electric vehicles in the Southern Automotive Corridor

South Korean sister automakers Hyundai and Kia will invest $7.4 billion in their electric vehicle transition in the U.S., the companies announced in the spring. Hyundai operates its only U.S. plant in Montgomery, Ala., and Kia operates its only U.S. plant 80 miles away in West Point, Ga.

 

Nissan begins assembling new Pathfinder Pathfinder model at Tennessee plant

Japanese automaker Nissan began the assembly of its new 2022 Pathfinder SUV model at its plant in Smyrna, Tenn. The first model rolled off the assembly line in May with its powertrain being built nearly in Decherd, Tenn. More than 7,000 workers are housed at the plant in Smyrna, east of Nashville.

 

Hyundai’s Alabama plant helps company to best ever sales month in March

South Korean automaker Hyundai’s sales soared 153 percent over March 2020 sales to over 72,000 vehicles, its best U.S. month ever. Hyundai’s only U.S. assembly plant is in Montgomery, Ala.

 

Auto battery deal saves 2,600 Georgia jobs

Electric vehicle parts competitors SK Innovation (SKI) and LG Energy Solution (LGES) have reached an agreement in an ongoing dispute on trade secrets that will preserve 2,600 jobs in Northeast Georgia. The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in favor of LGES on Feb. 10, after the company accused SKI of stealing 22 of its trade secrets. The ruling banned SKI from importing battery parts and components for 10 years, with some exceptions. SKI has agreed to pay LGES $1.8 billion in lump-sum payments and royalties. Both companies agreed to withdraw pending litigation and not seek enforcement of patent or intellectual rights for 10 years.

 

Elon Musk recruits employees at new Austin plant via Twitter

Entrepreneur Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla, took to Twitter in April to recruit employees at the new Gigafactory that will build Tesla’s first cybertruck near the airport in Austin, Texas. Musk wants to recruit 10,000 employees to the new facility, twice what was originally announced.

 

There is a new richest person in Texas

Move over Alice Walton of WalMart. . .Elon Musk, who has recently moved to Austin, is now the richest person in Texas. Musk made a highly publicized move to Austin last year from California. Much of Musk’s newest developments are now in Texas with his Gigafactory in Austin to the Starbase rocket launch area in Boca Chica, Texas on the beach near Brownsville.

 

Magna Mirrors bringing 300 new jobs with $31 million factory build in Duncan, S.C.

Magna Mirrors has announced construction of a new $31 million, 170,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Duncan. The facility is expected to employ 300 people to produce high-tech vehicle mirrors with cameras and sensor technology.

 

Korean automotive manufacturer opening first U.S. facility in Jackson County, Ga.

Duckyang, a supplier of automotive battery modules and energy storage systems to SK Battery America, will invest $10 million in opening its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Braselton, Ga. The new facility will create 285 jobs in Jackson County.

 

EV charging giant opening HQ in Atlanta

A Netherlands-based supplier of charging stations for electric vehicles, Heliox, will set up a North American headquarters in Atlanta, hiring 70. North America is expected to become the largest market for e-mobility in the next 5 years.

 

PACCAR Parts breaks ground on Louisville distribution center

PACCAR Parts, a distributor of aftermarket parts for heavy- and medium-duty trucks, trailers, buses and engines, broke ground in May on a $52.2 million, state-of-the-art parts distribution center in Louisville. The investment is expected to create 80 full-time jobs.

 

Mercedes suppliers foresee 3,200 new jobs for the Tuscaloosa area

Regarding potential job growth at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, the automaker predicts its suppliers are looking to bring 3,200 jobs to the Tuscaloosa County, Ala., area within the next two to three years as it expands into the electric vehicle market.

May 2021

$200 with a “B” — the economic effect on South Carolina’s economy from manufacturing

The manufacturing sector in South Carolina has a $200 billion impact on the Palmetto State’s economy according to the South Carolina Manufacturers Alliance. South Carolina is one of the South’s most highly concentrated manufacturing states with the likes of BMW, Boeing, Michelin, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz leading the way. The study examined 127 specific manufacturing occupations to determine the industry’s footprint across the state and the economic stability it creates, according to a news release.

 

New $2.3 billion electric vehicle battery plant planned by General Motors in Tennessee

Michigan-based GM announced in April it will build a new 2.8 million-square-foot electric vehicle battery factory in Spring Hill, Tenn., next to its long-time assembly plant there. GM will partner with LG Energy Solutions to build the company’s second Ultium Cells facility. The $2.3 billion, 1,300-employee plant is the largest single investment in the state’s history according to Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee. Not only will GM produce electric vehicles at its Spring Hill plant, it will also assembly electric vehicles from other well-known automakers.

 

Volkswagen plant in Tennessee tops 4,000 workers

German automaker Volkswagen has steadily invested in its plant in Chattanooga since it announced in July of 2008. There are now multiple lines, including an electric line and a battery facility. In the spring, contractor Aerotek announced it will hire 150 production workers at the plant that will help on the line assembling the Passat sedan model. The new hires bring employment at the plant to over 4,000 for the first time.

 

Cummins adding jobs in North Carolina

Cummins, which makes mid-range diesel engines at its plant in Whitakers, N.C., is expanding its plant that houses 1,800 workers. The company is investing $42 million at its Rocky Mount Engine Plant..

 

VW needs 150 in Chattanooga

Volkswagen is looking for another 150 production workers in Chattanooga. The auto maker needs machine operation, warehouse and logistics workers in the production of the Passat, Volkswagen Atlas and Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport at the Chattanooga plant.

 

Georgia tire plant plans $22 million expansion

Kumho Tire will spend $21.8 million to expand production in middle Georgia. The original $600 million plant opened in May 2016, hiring 400 people.

 

Central Kentucky community welcomes new jobs

Worldwide Technologies — a manufacturer of parts for various trucks, firearms and motors — announced it will open its newest plant in Greensburg, Ky. The expansion will include 25 jobs with a $1.42 million investment. Mayor John Shuffett says while 25 jobs might not sound like a huge amount, they’ll be the first manufacturing jobs created in Green County in at least two decades.

 

Metals recycling company bringing jobs to Macon, Ga.

Schnitzer Steel Industries’ new Advanced Aluminum Separation System is an $11 million investment that will also mean new jobs. “The aluminum will be molted into new engine blocks. Which will power our vehicles,” said Pedro Orbezo, VP for Metals Technology. The system will also help reduce the amount of material that ends up in landfills.

 

Hyundai TRANSYS adds another $9 million and 150 jobs to major expansion

With a $9 million investment, Hyundai TRANSYS Georgia Seating System will expand its manufacturing operations in West Point, Ga., which is expected to add more than 150 jobs in Troup County. The Hyundai subsidiary makes seats and seat foam pads for several Hyundai vehicle lines and electric vehicle makers.

 

STS Group establishing first U.S. location in Wythe County, Va., creating 120 jobs

STS Group AG, a supplier of interior and exterior parts for commercial vehicles, will invest $39 million to establish its first U.S. manufacturing operation in Wythe County’s Progress Park, creating 120 new jobs. The new facility will supply Volvo Trucks in Pulaski County and other truck and automotive facilities throughout the Midwest and Southeastern U.S. markets.

 

Camper company moving to Tennessee

Off-road and luxury camper manufacturer BRS Offroad North America will base its headquarters and manufacturing operations in Lewis County. The company will invest $1.7 million in Hohenwald with the expectation of creating 115 new jobs.

 

Wayne County, N.C., gaining 96 new jobs from auto supplier

An automotive exhaust manufacturer will create 96 new jobs in Wayne County, N.C. AP Emissions Technologies will invest $400,000 to expand its e-commerce operations in Goldsboro.

 

Auto parts manufacturer selects Stanly County, N.C.

American Racing Headers & Exhaust, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of stainless-steel headers and exhaust system components, will locate a new manufacturing facility in Stanly County. The company will invest $4.37 million and add 63 new jobs as it relocates its operations to the Charlotte region.

 

J&J Truck Sales to expand and create 27 new jobs in Chatham, Va.

A purveyor of dump trucks is slated to break ground on a new facility adjacent to its current operation in Chatham. J&J Truck Sales is investing over $5 million to expand operations in Pittsylvania County, creating 27 new jobs for its automotive-based equipment repair, refurbishment and fabrication division.

April 2021

Electric car manufacturer bringing 400 jobs to Memphis with $336 million investment

Electric vehicle manufacturer Mullen Technologies is looking to expand into Memphis, creating more than 400 jobs in the process. The California-based startup plans to spend more than $336 million setting up shop at the site, which was formerly inhabited by Nike but has been vacant for the past five years.

Tesla hiring hundreds in the Austin area

Electric-car and green-energy company Tesla recently posted 50 job openings for its new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas. The job listings give some insight into just how aggressively Tesla is expanding its production capacity for both electric vehicle production and battery cell production.

Auto supplier creating 200 jobs in Louisville, Ky., with new facility

Michigan-based Eberspaecher North America, a system developer and supplier of exhaust technology, thermal management systems and automotive electronics, is expected to create 214 job opportunities with a new facility in Louisville.

TVA to build Kentucky’s largest solar site

The Tennessee Valley Authority has announced plans to build the largest solar-plus-storage project in its Kentucky service area, which will benefit two well-known companies. The new Logan County solar farm, part of the TVA’s Green Invest program, will provide Facebook’s regional data center operations with 145 megawatts of solar power and General Motors’ Corvette Plant in Bowling Green with 28 megawatts of solar power.

Metalsa expanding again in Kentucky

Mexican automotive parts supplier Metalsa is expanding its existing facility in Hopkinsville, adding new equipment and 97 jobs. The company currently employs more than 600 people at its Christian County plant. Metalsa manufactures chassis structures for vehicles. It also has facilities in Elizabethtown and Owensboro.

BorgWarner announces big expansion plan for Arden, N.C.

The automotive supplier headquartered in Michigan, BorgWarner, plans to invest $62 million in its Arden production plant and technical center. Arden County commissioners approved incentives for the company recently, which will include about $460,000 in exchange for at least 100 new jobs.

Morgantown, Ky., manufacturer expanding with 135 new jobs

Stratus Plastics, a plastics manufacturing company located in Morgantown, Ky., has announced its latest expansion project. The facility will hire approximately 135 people to make essential plastic parts that will be used in automotive manufacturing and assembling processes.

King Machine expanding in Sumter, S.C.

King Machine, a tire mold manufacturer, has announced plans to expand operations in Sumter County. The $2.6 million investment will create 30 new jobs. Located in the Black River Industrial Park in Sumter, King Machine’s expansion will include a 50,000-square-foot facility that will increase the company’s operating capacity.

Will the automotive industry bring the South out of this recession?

By Michael Randle

Some suggest that the 2021 economy is surging, and that the COVID recession of 2020 was the shortest recession in history (March to June 2020, according to some). However, there is still a lot of current data that does not support that assertion. Technically, the U.S. is still in recession as of the first quarter of 2021, as defined by my friends at IHS Markit, the National Bureau of Economic Research and Wells Fargo, among others.

If you believe we are out of the recession, the real data does not support your belief. COVID-19 changed all of that! At the very least, we may be emerging out of a deep, dark — “Hey, it happened literally overnight” — recession.

For those who believe the economy is not so bad, tell that to the 10 million people who do not have a job when they had one in February of 2020, prior to the virus changing all of our lives. Tell that to the 15 million Americans on unemployment. Tell that to the 8 million people that fell into poverty in 2020. Tell that to the 2.2 million women who left the workforce from March to October 2020.

The U.S. economy shrank over four quarters by an average of 3.5 percent in 2020. Technically, that is a recession no matter the source. Therefore, in the winter quarter of 2021, we are still in recession.

However, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in the fourth quarter, the economy grew by 4 percent, which has only happened in a few quarters in the last two decades. It usually sits around 2 percent growth, and has for some time now.

We will take the 4 percent growth earned in the fall 2020 quarter. Let’s hope it continues for another quarter or two, so that this virus-generated recession will end. After two or three consecutive quarters of GDP growth, we will be out of this economic nightmare.

The last economic quagmire we found ourselves in was in 2008, when President Obama came into office. There was a huge argument at the time — should we bail out the domestic auto industry or not?

The U.S. ultimately bailed out Chrysler and GM with a $900 billion aid package. Shortly after, a huge increase in sales of light vehicles — sedans, SUVs and compacts — pulled us out of that recession.

We saw the recovery begin in early 2010. Parts suppliers and the Ford plants in Kentucky began announcing some serious deals. Then it spread throughout the Southern Auto Corridor in Alabama and Tennessee.

Now, with electric vehicles being produced by just about every automaker with a plant in the South, we are going to see the same thing — an expansion of the automotive industry to help pull us out of this recession. With the money we now have on the street (three major bailouts have been approved), the automotive industry is about to go nuts! It might be enough to pull us out of this recession.