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.

March 2021

GM looking to build second battery plant in Tennessee

Detroit-based General Motors is scouting sites in Tennessee, where it operates one of its largest assembly plants, to locate a second battery factory in the United States. A second battery plant would increase capacity for electric vehicles for the automaker. GM’s joint-venture partner is LG Chem. The two companies are building a $2.3 billion battery factory in Northeast Ohio.

BorgWarner announces expansion in North Carolina

Manufacturer BorgWarner announced a $62 million expansion of its facilities in Arden, N.C. The auto supplier’s project will include at least 100 new jobs.

Plastic manufacturer expands in Kentucky

Stratus Plastics, an automotive plastics manufacturing company located in Morgantown, Ky., is increasing capacity at its plant there. The expansion will create 135 jobs.

Port Laredo No. 1 in exports again

Laredo, Texas, again led all U.S. markets in exports, according to Census Bureau data analyzed by WorldCity. It is the second year Port Laredo finished on top. Some of the Port’s exports include motor vehicle parts ($8.9 billion); engines ($3.4 billion) and gasoline $3.1 billion).

Once again, BMW leads nation in exports by value

At $8.9 billion, BMW led all automaker exports by value of its units made in South Carolina, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is the seventh consecutive year BMW led all American-made vehicle exports by value. The top two export countries for the BMW vehicles made in Spartanburg County, S.C., in 2020 were China (23.3 percent of export volume) and Germany (12.9 percent).

Steel Technologies to expand in Smyrna, Tenn.

Steel Technologies recently obtained a revised property tax-break agreement that will result in 22 more jobs at its facility in Smyrna. The company processes flat-rolled steel for the automotive industry among others.

Cottrell to invest $125 million in Gainesville, Ga.

Cottrell, a manufacturer of over-the-road car haulers and equipment, will establish a second manufacturing facility in Gainesville. This will serve as the company’s North Campus, adjacent to their existing South Campus in Hall County. Cottrell will invest $125 million in the new 500,000-square-foot facility, which will also create new jobs.

Hankook Tire announces major expansion in Clarksville, Tenn.

Hankook Tire is embarking on the phase 2 expansion of the South Korean-owned Clarksville tire plant, bringing its total investment there to about $1 billion. Hankook Tire opened in Clarksville in October 2017, and currently employs about 1,000 people.

Toyota West Virginia expanding Buffalo facility

Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia (TMMWV) will invest $210 million to upgrade existing engine production and add 100 new jobs to increase capacity of its four-cylinder engine line. Once complete, TMMWV’s total investment will be more than $1.8 billion and total employment will exceed 2,000 at the Buffalo facility.

VW axle supplier adding 240 jobs in Tennessee

A Spanish supplier of Volkswagen components is expanding its presence in the United States, adding a large new factory in Chattanooga. Sesé Industrial Services will build a new 300,000-square-foot facility, complementing the company’s existing Sesé Logistics operations in the city. With an investment of $42 million, the new plant will produce axle components for VW’s electric vehicle line. The company plans to employ 240 people at the factory.

Grant for Cullman, Ala., manufacturer could mean 125 new jobs

A grant to the REHAU facility in Cullman, Ala., will allow the company to expand and hire 125 new employees. REHAU produces plastic-injection products that are used in the manufacturing of Alabama-built vehicles, including Mercedes.

Nippon Express completes Huntsville Logistics Center

Nippon Express, based in Tokyo, has completed construction of its Huntsville Logistics Center in Huntsville, Ala. The Center will handle distribution for Mazda parts manufactured by Mazda Toyota Manufacturing.

February 2021

Alabama’s auto industry will have some legs this year and next

As many as 6,000 jobs are expected to be created in 2021 in Alabama’s auto industry, and Alabama’s automotive industry is assured of a fantastic 2021 and 2022. Here are some of the reasons why:

  1. The new $2.3 billion, 4,000-employee Mazda Toyota plant in Huntsville is expected to open this year or early 2022.
  2. Mercedes-Benz is closer to starting electric vehicle manufacturing at its assembly plant in Tuscaloosa and Bibb counties in Alabama.
  3. Alabama made 11 different vehicle models in 2020. That will increase to 15 this year, including two new vehicles at Hyundai’s plant in Montgomery, Ala.

 

Integrated Fiber Solutions to expand plant in Rome, Ga.

Integrated Fiber Solutions announced a $30.2 million, three-phase expansion of its plant in Rome, including the addition of approximately 40 employees over the course of the next five years. The company manufactures synthetic yarns for the carpet, rug and automotive industries.

 

SGL Carbon expands Arkansas operations to produce components for EV batteries

A manufacturer of graphite and composite materials is expanding its operations in Arkadelphia, Ark., to produce components for electric vehicle battery enclosures. said the $4.5 million expansion will create 35 new jobs over the next three years.

 

Alabama auto supplier adding 162 jobs

An auto supplier facilitating Mercedes-Benz’s plan to produce electric vehicles is expanding in Tuscaloosa County. Schnellecke Logistics Alabama will move to a new building near the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International automobile plant in Vance, Ala., and plans to add 162 jobs.

 

EV battery maker to build plant in Tennessee, add 287 jobs

An electric car battery manufacturing company is planning to invest $220 million in a new Tennessee plant that is expected to create 287 new jobs. Microvast plans to renovate and expand a Clarksville facility to build battery cells, modules and packs.

 

Israeli manufacturer to build $2 million facility, create 55 jobs in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

JANSTEEL, an Israeli heavy-equipment manufacturing company, will spend $2 million to expand its operations in Port St. Lucie. The company was founded in 2004, and specializes in the design and manufacture of transport products such truck bodies.

 

Finnish tire maker adding 400 jobs in Tennessee

Tire manufacturer Nokian plans to nearly double the workforce at its facility in East Tennessee in coming months, part of a plan to add more than a hundred new jobs and significantly increase production. The company expects to add 150 positions that will allow the company to go from two shifts to four as demand for tires increases in the North American market.

 

Auto supplier bringing 240 jobs to Chattanooga

Enterprise South Industrial Park in Chattanooga will become home to a new auto manufacturing plant in the summer of 2021. Sesé Industrial Services, a Spanish manufacturer, announced that it would begin new operations in the park, create 240 new jobs, and invest $42 million by 2022. The new plant will assemble axle components for Volkswagen Chattanooga’s first electric Atlas SUV.

 

Horton opens new facility in Oconee County, S.C., with 125 jobs

Oconee County leaders gathered recently for the grand opening of a new business focused on engine cooling solutions for on- and off-highway vehicles. Horton’s manufacturing facility will be adding 125 jobs to the area.

 

Auto supplier plant bringing hundreds of jobs to Meriwether County, Ga.

KB Autosys is set to bring a multi-million-dollar manufacturing project to Georgia. The brake pad supplier will spend $38 million to build its first U.S. advanced manufacturing facility in Meriwether County. The project will create around 180 jobs.

 

EV charging network for Tennessee

The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation announced a partnership that will create a statewide charging network for electric vehicles. There are currently 24 charging stations for electric vehicle across the state. The new agreement will add 50 new locations — or one station every 50 miles — along Tennessee’s interstates and highways.

 

Pasco County, Fla., gains two new employers

Ensurem, an insurance broker and technology provider for retirement-age clients, is investing $500,000 to upgrade existing retail space that will be home to 200 employees. Santander, a consumer finance company focused on vehicle financing and third-party servicing, is investing a minimum of $12 million and will create 875 new jobs.

 

German auto supplier hiring in Franklin, Ky.

German-owned Fritz Winter North America announced it is adding a third shift and about 50 jobs to its manufacturing plant in Franklin. The 340,000-square-foot plant, which now operates two shifts and has a workforce of about 280, opened in June 2017, making disc brake rotors for the automotive industry.

 

Auto parts supplier Valeo expanding to Bessemer, Ala., with $5 million facility

Valeo North America, a top-10 auto parts supplier in the world, announced plans to expand into Bessemer with a $5 million facility that is expected to create 70 jobs. Valeo will be occupying an existing facility in Bessemer and is expected to be at full production by June.

 

Tesla hiring 500 in Florida

Tesla is hiring 500 positions in Florida. CareerSource Tampa Bay partnered with Tesla to host a virtual hiring event on January 27, in hopes of filling openings for both Tesla’s solar and automotive positions.

 

Scoop: GM will build electric crossovers for Honda and Acura in Tennessee

GM will apparently build two battery-electric crossovers — one sold as a Honda and another sold as an Acura — within the next four years. According to two anonymous people “familiar with the plans,” Honda’s GM-built EV will be assembled at the American automaker’s plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, the same factory that puts the Chevy Blazer and Equinox together. That crossover will reportedly enter production in 2023. Meanwhile, the Acura will reportedly be built in Spring Hill, Tenn., alongside the Cadillac Lyriq, starting in 2024.

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.

December 2020

Economists believe in big rebound for auto industry

According to economists with the University of Michigan, production and sales of new vehicles in the U.S. will rebound strongly in 2021 and 2022. They expect sales to climb to 16.3 million vehicles in 2021, up from 14.5 million projected in 2020.

Elon Musk moves to Texas

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla has moved to Texas. Both SpaceX and Tesla maintain major operations in California, but Tesla is building a Cybertruck plant near the Austin, Texas airport that represents a $1.2 billion investment and will house 5,000 workers.

Mazda Toyota hiring again at new plant in Huntsville, Ala.

Mazda Toyota is still finishing its plant in Huntsville and in December it hired hundreds of more workers for the facility. The hiring, according to the company, will continue through 2022. The plant is expected to be operational in mid-2021.

Genuine Parts to open distribution center in Tennessee

Genuine Parts Company will open a new auto parts distribution center in Lebanon, Tenn. The project will create 250 jobs.

Auto parts manufacturer to expand in Virginia

IAC Group is expanding its automotive parts facility in Strasburg, Va. The $4.6 million deal will create 47 jobs.

Boston Consulting Group: Ford’s Kentucky plants contribute billions

According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant and its Kentucky Truck Plant contribute billions to Kentucky’s economy. BCG estimates that the two Ford plants contribute $11.8 billion to Kentucky’s Gross Domestic Product. The two plants employ about 13,000 and direct and indirect jobs supported by the plants total 120,000.

Big automotive deal in Georgia

Hyundai Transys, a maker of automotive transmissions, is building a new $240 million plant near Kia’s massive assembly facility in West Point, Ga. The plant will produce eight-speed transmissions. The project calls for 678 jobs.

Fourteen- millionth vehicle assembled at Tennessee Nissan plant

A red Nissan Rogue rolled off the assembly line at the Japanese automaker’s plant in Smyrna, Tenn. in December. The vehicle was the 14 millionth vehicle made at the facility. The plant, which began assembling vehicles in 1983, houses about 7,000 workers.

Spain-based Gestamp expands in Tennessee

Auto parts supplier Gestamp is investing over $94 million in its facilities in Chattanooga. The expansion is due to new electric vehicle production. The deal will create 260 new jobs.

Hyundai adds model to Montgomery assembly plant

Korean automaker Hyundai has added a fifth vehicle to its assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala. The company is adding its Tuscon model compact SUV to its Alabama line.

November 2020

Auto markets begin to stabilize worldwide

In the fall quarter, global automotive markets began to increase sales in China, the U.S. and Europe. China, the first country to have coronavirus cases, saw growth in its automotive market in the summer and fall 2020 quarters. The U.S. quickly followed and the European Automotive Manufacturers’ Association said it saw an increase of 1.1 percent in sales in October.

New report shows Southeast has large share of electric vehicle market

A new report by the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and Atlas Public Policy shows that the Southeast is a leader in electric vehicle manufacturing and research and development. The report, “Transportation Electrification in the Southeast,” claimed that 28 percent of the nationwide manufacturing investment has occurred in the Southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Nearly $7 billion in current automakers and battery manufacturer’s investments are in the Southeast.

Tesla’s gigafactory in Austin, Texas, to create 15,000 new jobs

Tesla is expected to create 15,000 direct and indirect jobs at the factory it is building near the Austin airport. The company will build its Cybertruck at the facility.

Toyota expanding plant in Georgia

Toyota Industries Compressor Parts America is investing over $5 million in its plant in Jackson County, Ga. The deal will create 27 jobs.

Continental Tire eyes expansion in Lancaster County, S.C.

Continental Tire the Americas will invest more than $20 million to expand its complex in Lancaster County. The expansion will include a new 88,000-square-foot building that will be constructed next to the existing headquarters, and the addition of 200 new jobs.

Cleveland, Tenn., lands $114 million auto parts plant

Southeast Tennessee’s growing auto sector has landed a supplier that plans to hire nearly 200 workers and invest $114 million as the first company in Cleveland’s newest industrial park. Cannon Automotive Solutions of Bowling Green,Ky., a maker of metal auto parts, will begin production next year.

Auto supplier expansion completed at Frankfort, Ky., facility

TOPY America, a steel wheel manufacturer for the North American car and light truck markets, has completed a $38 million renovation at its Frankfort operation. The project was originally announced in late 2017.

GM investing $2 billion In Spring Hill, Tenn., plant to build electric vehicles

General Motors plans to spend $2 billion to convert its Spring Hill assembly plant into a third U.S. site to build electric vehicles. The Detroit automaker also says it will spend another $153 million to upgrade five Michigan factories for future vehicles. The company will build the Cadillac Lyriq, a small electric SUV, at the Tennessee factory. Gasoline-powered Cadillac SUVs will also continue to be built at the plant. GM is also expected to announce details of an all-electric GMC Hummer pickup truck. These are among 20 electric models the company plans to sell globally by 2023.

Auto supplier plans Alabama expansions creating 180 jobs

International Automotive Components Group North America (IAC) plans to invest over $55.9 million in expansion projects that will create 182 jobs at two Alabama facilities. IAC is committing $34.3 million to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County, which will hire 119 to produce door panels and overhead systems. In addition, IAC plans to invest $21.6 million at its manufacturing facility in Anniston, creating 63 jobs. The primary product there is automotive interior components and systems.

F&P Georgia planning another expansion

F&P Georgia is growing again. The auto parts manufacturer will invest $23 million and add at least 15 new jobs over three years. F&P is a major supplier to both Honda and Nissan.

Fifty-million-dollar Mercedes-Benz expansion in Alabama to add 373 jobs

Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plans to lease a new $53.6 million, 530,000-square-foot parts facility near its plant in Tuscaloosa County. The company is expected to create 373 jobs. Situated on 53 acres, the plant will primarily serve as a storage and sequence facility for parts used in MBUSI’s electric vehicles. The automaker is in the midst of a $1 billion expansion focused on electric vehicle production in Alabama, including a new plant in Bibb County that will make battery packs.

Autozone expands Lexington, Tenn., distribution hub

AutoZone, a retailer and distributor of aftermarket auto replacement parts, will invest $42 million to expand its current operations in Lexington. The company plans to create 45 jobs over the next five years.

Toyota hiring 150 for Huntsville engine plant

Toyota is looking for people to fill positions as part of an expansion that’s adding two new assembly lines to its Huntsville, Ala., engine plant. The 150 new hires are part of the company’s $830 million expansion that is increasing engine production.

Britain-based Arrival will build first U.S. factory in Rock Hill, S.C.

London-based Arrival, an electric vehicle company, plans to establish its first U.S. microfactory in Rock Hill. The $46 million investment in York County is expected to create 240 new jobs. Rather than a traditional automotive production line, the microfactory will allow the production of any vehicle from Arrival’s portfolio.

Truck parts maker expands to U.S., investing $13.3 million in Alabama factory

A producer of pickup truck bed parts and accessories plans to enter the U.S. market with a new factory in Alabama. Mountain Top Industries will invest $13.3 million in its new facility in Montgomery. The project is expected to create 90 new jobs.

Carvana hiring 500 in West Memphis, Ark.

Carvana in West Memphis is aiming to hire about 500 positions for its inspection center there. All the positions are entry-level inventory associates, automotive technicians, and auto body and paint technicians for its newest vehicle inspection center in West Memphis.

Tesla buys more land in Austin,Texas, next to its new assembly plant

Tesla is buying more land in Austin near the site of the $1.1 billion Gigafactory it’s building near the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. The 2,000-acre property will be used for the plant’s future expansion or possibly for a battery factory.

October 2020

Porsche expanding North American HQ in Georgia

Porsche Cars North America has announced a new multi-million dollar investment in its North American headquarters in Georgia. Located at the northeast corner of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the new 33-acre development adds to the company’s existing 27-acre headquarters.

Danish company selects Alabama for first U.S. plant

Denmark-based Mountain Top Industries, which specializes in aluminum roll covers for pickup trucks, plans to open a 73,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Montgomery. The company will invest $13.3 million to open the facility, which will support 90 full-time jobs.

Driverge Vehicle Innovations expands South Carolina production campus

Driverge Vehicle Innovations, an industry leader in commercial wheelchair transportation and accessible taxis, plans to expand operations in North Charleston. The company’s $350,000 investment is projected to create 13 new jobs.

Loss Prevention Services will relocate HQ to Natchez, Miss., hire 200 new jobs

Loss Prevention Services, an auto portfolio servicing company for financial lenders (think repossession and remarketing), will invest $2.97 million to locate its corporate headquarters in Natchez. The new 45,000-square-foot facility will be able to accommodate the 300 existing local employees, with plans to fill 200 additional new jobs by summer 2022.

DMA Holdings eyes Nichols, S.C., for new hub

DMA Holdings, a supplier to the North American automotive and heavy-duty parts aftermarket, announced plans to expand operations in Marion County with the opening of a new manufacturing and distribution center. The company plans to invest more than $3.9 million and will create 25 new jobs. The company’s brands include SenSen Shocks and Struts and TekMaster Brake Wear Sensors.

The Shyft Group opens manufacturing facility in Jupiter, Fla.

The Shyft Group, a leader in specialty vehicle manufacturing, assembly and upfitting, plans to open a new 35,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Jupiter. The expansion is expected to immediately create 40 new positions in Palm Beach County.

Colorado automotive manufacturer to locate plant in Alabama

Wheel Pros, a maker of aftermarket wheels, performance tires and accessories, is locating a plant in Auburn, Ala. The project will create 300 jobs.

Automotive software firm adding jobs in Virginia

Torc Robotics, a Blacksburg, Va.-based self-driving vehicle systems software developer, is expanding. The $8.5 million project will create 350 jobs.

Military vehicle manufacturer adding jobs in Mississippi

Navistar Defense is expanding its plant in West Point, Miss. The company is investing $8 million and adding 500 new jobs.