Summer 2022

Lithium-ion batteries for your EV? Try solid-state batteries

In recent years, car giants such as Ford, Mercedes and Nissan have been trying to overcome the shortcomings of batteries that power electric vehicles by racing to produce a next-generation battery. In all cases of lithium-ion batteries, they underperformed even after billions were invested in their development. Not only that, the liquid electrolytes used in the batteries are prone to catching fire.

Enter a new player in the fourth quarter of electric vehicle power development. Many if not all existing and startup EV and battery manufacturers are now rallying around solid-state batteries, which do not contain liquid electrolytes and can charge quicker and last longer.

Rivian incentive deal approved by Morgan County, Ga., board

A Morgan County, Ga., board signed off in June on a property rental agreement that’s a centerpiece of the $1.5 billion incentive package offered to electric vehicle maker Rivian. The 4-1 vote means the Morgan County Board of Assessors ruled the rental agreement, known as a usufruct, does not make Rivian’s interest in the property taxable. In essence, the decision will allow Rivian to rent the land and future factory buildings on the nearly 2,000-acre site without paying typical property taxes.

The rental agreement is one of several components of Rivian’s incentive package — and by far the largest — providing some $700 million in property tax savings over the 25-year term. Under the terms of the agreement, Rivian will pay more than $300 million over 25 years to local governments and school systems under a payment in lieu of taxes agreement or PILOT.

Volkswagen chief says German car giant will overtake Tesla on EV sales by 2025

The chief executive of Volkswagen believes Europe’s biggest carmaker can overtake Tesla to become the world’s largest seller of electric vehicles by 2025. Speaking to CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Herbert Diess said alleviating supply chain issues would likely help create some momentum for the German auto giant over the coming months.

Nissan mulling third auto plant in US to meet electric vehicle demand

Nissan is considering adding a new auto plant in the U.S. to keep up with growing demand for electric vehicles, a top executive at the Japanese automaker said. “It may not be a surprise that we go for a third plant,” Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta told reporters at Yokohama headquarters. Nissan Motor Co. now has two auto plants in the U.S. One in Canton, Miss., makes the Titan pickup truck and Altima sedan, among other models. The other in Smyrna, Tenn., makes the Leaf electric car, Pathfinder sport utility vehicle and other models. Each of the plants employ thousands of workers and has produced millions of Nissan vehicles. The third plant would not just be an added assembly line to an existing plant, but a totally new facility, although it may be built as an extension of an existing plant, Gupta said.

Letter to the Editor

“My friend, your prediction more than 20 years ago of the South becoming the center of auto manufacturing in North America has now taken another giant step forward. The announcement that Hyundai will build its first electric car plant in Georgia confirms it in this new era. I will take lucky and good every time.”

J. Mac Holladay

CEO, Market Street Services, Atlanta, Ga.

New research shows American workers not better off with less foreign-born workers

Former President Trump’s intentional depletion of legal immigrant visas and the COVID-19 pandemic reduced legal immigration in the U.S. by as much as 80 percent to just 250,000 in 2020. But, according to research, U.S. workers were not better off with the reduction in immigration. In fact, the lack of foreign workers helped create worse economic conditions. The lack of labor has created worker shortages, school closures, empty shelves in stores, shorter hours in retail and hospitality, skyrocketing childcare costs and the inability of many companies to fill open positions. According to Madeline Zavodny, an economics professor at the University of North Florida and a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the reduction in workers as a result of COVID and cuts in immigration showed no evidence that less foreign workers improved economic outcomes of U.S.-born workers.

World’s largest truck maker says it’s facing enormous supply chain pressure

Supply chain disruptions are still rippling across the globe, and the head of the world’s largest truck maker has warned that shortages of parts are slowing the production of thousands of its vehicles. Daimler Truck CEO Martin Daum told CNBC that the current supply chain squeeze is among the worst he’s seen in his more-than-25-year career, resulting in major bottlenecks across the company’s suite of brands. “We are facing enormous pressure on the supply chain,” said Daum, whose trucks are used for vital industries such as logistics and construction. “I would say it’s one of the worst years ever in my long career in trucking, where we sometimes have to touch a truck three, four times to add the missing parts,” he added. But Daum said that shortages of other parts are also continuing to slow the production of thousands of trucks across its international network of factories. “We have, in a couple of factories, more than 10,000 trucks where one or two parts are missing and we desperately search the world for those parts,” he said.

How the new Hyundai Motor factory stacks up to other big Georgia deals

South Korean giant Hyundai Motor Group made official this year its plans to build a sprawling electric vehicle factory in Bryan County near Savannah. The project is expected to employ as many as 8,100 people and involves a roughly $5.5 billion investment, ranking as one of the largest corporate recruitments in Georgia’s history. The project comes just six months after Georgia announced the $5 billion Rivian electric vehicle factory, which will be built an hour east of Atlanta. In just the last few years, three of Georgia’s biggest recruitment projects ever have all been related to electric vehicles. In 2018, the state landed a battery plant from South Korean conglomerate SK Innovation. It’s all part of a big bet by Georgia leaders to ensure a place in the electrified future of the auto industry.

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 experienced 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 average age of vehicles on U.S. roadways hits a record 12.2 years

The average age of vehicles on U.S. roadways edged higher in 2021, hitting a record of 12.2 years, as Americans challenged by high car prices and slim pickings on dealer lots hold on to cars longer. This was the fifth straight year the average vehicle age in the U.S. has increased, according to new data released by research firm S&P Global Mobility. Vehicles on average have been getting older in the U.S. for the past two decades as quality has improved and cars generally are lasting longer, analysts say. During the pandemic, the trend has only accelerated, largely because of a computer-chip shortage that has curbed factory output and left dealership lots bare. With car supplies constrained, prices have also soared on both new and used vehicles, resulting in more shoppers choosing to delay purchases. The average vehicle age crossed 12 years for the first time in 2020, the firm found.

ALABAMA

Four of the top 10 U.S.-made vehicles come from Alabama

Cars.com is back with its American-Made Index, and Alabama once again figures prominently in the 2022 ranking. The list ranks vehicles made and bought in the U.S., listing 95 vehicles based on five criteria: assembly location, parts content, engine origins, transmission origins and U.S. manufacturing workforce. Topping the list again is Tesla, with its Model Y. However, this year, all four vehicles made at Honda’s Lincoln, Ala., plant placed in the top 10 — Honda’s Ridgeline truck, Odyssey mini-van, Pilot mid-size SUV and Passport.

Alabama-made vehicles also have healthy representation outside the top 10. Hyundai’s Santa Fe SUV, made in Montgomery, checks in at No. 39, while the Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup is a few slots lower at No. 43, and the Hyundai Tucson compact SUV is at No. 48, in its first year on the survey. From Vance, Ala., the Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV is ranked No. 51. Another newcomer to the list is the Toyota Corolla Cross, the SUV manufactured in Huntsville. Mercedes’ GLS SUV is at No. 68, while the Hyundai Elantra is at No. 95.

Toyota expands Huntsville, Ala., operations

Toyota plans to invest $222 million at its manufacturing facility in Huntsville, Ala. The company will create a new production line for four-cylinder engines, including a hybrid electric version. The project is part of a $383 million company-wide plan that injects new investment into four U.S. manufacturing plants that support powertrain production for Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Plants in Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee are included, with the Alabama facility receiving the largest investment. The investments advance Toyota’s commitment to vehicle electrification and meeting customer demand, according to company officials.

One thousand more jobs available at Mazda-Toyota plant

Toyota and Mazda are looking for 1,200 more employees to help build vehicles at their new joint plant in Huntsville, Ala. After the recent rollout of Mazda’s first vehicle from the plant — the CX-50 crossover SUV — VP of production Janette Hostettler said, “The team members here have worked so hard and put so much heart and passion into the vehicle, but I still need about 1,200 more of y’all.”

Korean parts supplier expanding its Alabama operations

Auto parts supplier Shinhwa Auto USA Corp. announced a $78 million expansion of its Auburn operations at Auburn Technology Park West. The company supplies parts for Montgomery’s Hyundai plant and Kia in West Point, Ga. The project will create 42 jobs.

KENTUCKY

Excitement grows with massive EV battery plant planned for Bowling Green, Ky.

A major electric vehicle battery plant is coming to Bowling Green, and the excitement in the community is palpable. According to reports, a new factory to supply battery materials has longtime Warren County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon thrilled about the expected 2,000 new jobs it will bring to Warren County. “This is a real transformational type of business. It actually puts us into a totally different employment sector than we’ve had in the past. It means that Bowling Green will be a focal point for the electric vehicle because where they make the batteries is where they’ll make everything else,” Buchanon said.

Envision AESC, a world leading Japanese electric vehicle battery technology company, unveiled plans in early April to invest $2 billion to open a new manufacturing facility in the Kentucky Transpark. The state-of-the-art gigafactory battery plant will produce battery cells and modules to power electric vehicles.

Toyota adding jobs in Kentucky to support electric vehicle production

Toyota Motor North America says it will add 220 jobs as part of its push to increase electric vehicle manufacturing. The engineering jobs will be added to Toyota’s Production Engineering Division. It serves as go-between for design and manufacturing. The new employees will be part of Toyota’s efforts to look for ways to make electric vehicle manufacturing more efficient. The automaker says the new jobs will be spread across Toyota’s North American manufacturing plant locations, including Kentucky.

Piston Automotive expanding Kentucky plant

Piston Automotive, a provider of automotive assemblies including electric and hybrid vehicle battery systems, will further expand its operations in Jefferson County, Ky. The $26.3 million project is expected to create 117 jobs.

TENNESSEE

Volkswagen announces 1,000 new Tennessee hires

Volkswagen announced in May it would seek to hire 1,000 new employees to add a third shift at its Volkswagen Chattanooga assembly plant and drive production for three VW models, including the electric ID.4. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, the March unemployment rate in Chattanooga, Tenn., is 2.9 percent, and VW already employs more than 4,000 people at the plant. As an incentive to join the team, VW said it would offer a $3,000 sign-on bonus to anyone hired between May 16 and October 31 of this year. The German automaker will use the third shift to assemble three VW models for the North American market; the Volkswagen Atlas SUV, Atlas Cross Sport, and electric ID.4. Volkswagen says the new shift will help meet customer demand for those models.

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.

Ford in West Tennessee: Finding the workforce for the largest project in Tennessee history

In the fall quarter, Detroit-based Ford Motor Company announced it would locate a $5.6 billion, 5,800-job electric vehicle and battery production facility in what was called the Megasite of West Tennessee but is now called Blue Oval City. A workforce will obviously be needed in an age of low fertility rates and high rates of retirements. A trained workforce ready for the assembly line, however, is what Ford is trying to achieve. This will be done through a customized curriculum for K-12 and technical college students trained to build electric trucks and batteries. In fact, ninth grade students will graduate high school when the plant opens. Tennessee lawmakers have also agreed to spend $40 million to build a Tennessee College of Applied Technology near the megasite in Haywood County to address the demand for workers. To capture Ford, Tennessee and local governments put together an $884 million incentive package. The year 2021 was one few in Tennessee or in economic development will forget. Tennessee welcomed major investments and job generation from companies such as Ford, Oracle, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Smith & Wesson.

Auto Supplier announces $8 million Tennessee plant

A Michigan manufacturer of automotive powertrain and drivetrain systems plans to establish a new facility in East Tennessee, state and company officials announced. ATC Drivetrain will invest more than $8 million in the new plant in Knoxville. Over the next five years, the company expects the project to create 218 new jobs.

TEXAS

New rare-earth magnet facility to attract hundreds of jobs to Fort Worth

A rare earth magnet factory is coming to Fort Worth, and it will attract hundreds of new jobs. Las Vegas-based MP Materials is building its new rare earth magnet factory off of Alliance Gateway Freeway in Fort Worth’s Alliance corridor. James Litinsky, the founder, chairman and CEO of MP Materials, says magnets are synonymous with modern life. “Rare earth magnets are really what will power motion, electric vehicles, wind turbines, drones, robots, robot dogs, air taxis, whatever. . .we could go on and on,” Litinsky said during the groundbreaking ceremony. The new facility will reshore 150 skilled jobs and about 1,300 indirect jobs.

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. 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.

WEST VIRGINIA

Battery manufacturer Sparkz to build plant in West Virginia, hire former coal workers

Battery manufacturer Sparkz has announced that it will begin construction this year of a gigafactory in West Virginia, which will initially employ 350 workers to commercialize its zero-cobalt battery. Sparkz founder and CEO Sanjiv Malhotra made the announcement at a ceremony in the state capital, Charleston, which was attended by a very diverse group of policymakers, including Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

Electric bus manufacturer chooses South Charleston, W.Va.

Canada-based electric bus manufacturer GreenPower Motor Company will lease/purchase a 9.5-acre manufacturing facility in South Charleston, W.Va. The company will manufacture zero-emission, all-electric school buses there. The project is expected to create up to 200 jobs by the end of the year, and employment at the facility may reach up to 900 jobs when full production is reached in 24 months.

Toyota celebrates 25 years in West Virginia

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

June 2020

June 2020

Polymer developer expands in Newton County, Ga.
Mytex Polymers (owned by Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation) is investing more than $7 million to expand its existing facility in Newton County. Headquartered in Indiana, Mytex manufactures polymers used in products including automotive parts and household appliances.

Kontane Logistics announces expansion in Berkeley County, S.C.
Kontane Logistics is expanding operations in Summerville and creating 30 new jobs. The third-party warehousing and industrial packaging company’s new facility will be used for light tire and wheel assembly for Volvo.

Commerce, Ga., lights up with mega deal
SK Innovation, a South Korean business that builds lithium-ion batteries for hybrid electric vehicles, announced in May it is building an additional plant at the site where it is already constructing a manufacturing facility that promised to hire 2,000. This second facility will increase SK’s investment from $1.67 billion to $2.5 billion. SK has contracts to supply batteries to Kia Motors and Volkswagen, and cited a projected higher demand for electric vehicles as the reason for its expansion.

Love’s Travel Stops chooses Locust Grove, Ga., for retread plant
Love’s Travel Stops will invest $16 million to open a 200,000-square-foot retread plant and retail distribution center 35 miles southeast of Atlanta in Locust Grove. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the company plans to hire 55 for this new Henry County facility.

Retooling to fight COVID-19
Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG), located in West Point, is producing medical-use face shields.

April 2020

April 2020

Fed says manufacturing decline largest since 1946
Data released by the Federal Reserve in April showed that manufacturing in the U.S. has dropped to levels not seen since 1946, one year after the end of World War II. The low levels are due to so many manufacturers closing plants, including almost all automotive plants in April.

Missouri market puts together $1 billion package for Tesla Cybertruck factory
Joplin, Mo., has put together a package of incentives and savings to lure Elon Musk’s plant to build Cybertruck electric vehicles. The package includes a discount on a 1,042-acre site as well as a combination of state and local tax credits.

Japanese automakers furloughing workers in the Southern Automotive Corridor by the tens of thousands
Nissan and Honda are furloughing workers without pay at their plants in the South because of the coronavirus. In April, Nissan said it would furlough about 10,000 workers at its plants in Mississippi and Tennessee calling the move a temporary shutdown. Honda will furlough about 14,400 workers at its plants in the U.S. The furloughed workers will keep their benefits such as health care.

South Carolina automakers shut plants down
Volvo and BMW closed their plants in South Carolina in March until further notice. Volvo, which employs about 1,500 workers currently in Berkeley County and is in the midst of a major expansion to add a SUV line, saw its sales drop 31.2 percent in March worldwide. BMW, which houses about 11,000 workers at its plant in Spartanburg County, saw sales drop by 15.3 percent in the first quarter in the U.S.

Automotive supplier expanding in Alabama
Hayashi Telempu North America (HTNA), a Michigan-based supplier of automotive interior components, is expanding its plant in Walker County, Ala. The $7 million project will create 19 jobs.

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.

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.

November 2019

November 2019

Toyota expanding Kentucky plant, again
Japanese automaker Toyota is expanding its Georgetown, Ky., plant once again. Toyota is adding 400 workers as soon as possible at the plant, which is the automaker’s largest in the world. All workers hired will receive a $500 signing bonus if they remain on the job for at least six months. It is the first time Toyota has offered a signing bonus for new hires. This is the latest announcement in what has been a busy year for Toyota’s Kentucky plant. In March, the automaker announced it would invest $238 million to launch assembly of two hybrid vehicles in Kentucky, its RAV4 and the luxury Lexus ES 300.

The automotive industry is slowing faster than expected
Last year there were 55 automotive-relative deals announced of 200 jobs or more in the 15-state Southern Auto Corridor. That’s half of the 111 jobs announced in the South in 2015, when the industry sector peaked. The total last year was the lowest since 2008. The sector experienced a “sharp downturn” in production and sales through 2018 and that is not going to get any better this year. The auto sector represented 20 percent of 2018’s slowdown in GDP and roughly 30 percent of the slowdown in global trade, according to the International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook survey released in the fall quarter.

BMW celebrates 25 years in South Carolina
In the fall quarter, BMW workers and officials celebrated 25 years of its plant in Spartanburg County, S.C. To date, BMW has assembled 4.75 million vehicles and has exported 3 million of those through the Port of Charleston. BMW is the nation’s No. 1 exporter of vehicles from just one plant that houses 11,000 workers.

Company expanding its aluminum recycling operation in Georgia
Novelis, a maker of aluminum for the automotive industry and others, is investing $36 million in its recycling plant in Greensboro, Ga. The recycled aluminum will then be used by auto assembly companies.

Chinese company to establish first U.S. facility in Tennessee
Global Track Manufacturing, a maker of rubber tracks and undercarriage parts for industrial and agricultural equipment, is reopening the old Tower Automotive plant in Milan, Tenn. The deal, which will open next summer, will create 250 jobs.

Van assembly plant set for rural Virginia
Morgan Olson will invest $57.8 million to establish a new aluminum walk-in step van assembly plant in Danville-Pittsylvania County, Va. The vans are used by food distributors and other industries. The project will create 700 jobs.

Nucor opens Mississippi County, Ark., steel plant
Charlotte-based Nucor Steel opened its new specialty cold steel mill at its massive complex in Mississippi County, Ark., in the fall quarter. Most of the new capacity will be used for the automotive industry. The company invested $230 million in the project that will create 100 new jobs.

Firetruck company bringing more than 300 jobs to Georgia
Fouts Brothers is moving it headquarters and manufacturing operations to Milledgeville, Ga. The company will invest $15 million and create 300 jobs.

Truck manufacturer will establish operations in South Carolina
Spartan Motors, assembler of fleet, work truck and specialty service vehicle manufacturing, is establishing operations in Charleston County, S.C. The $1.15 million investment will create 308 jobs.

Continental Tire grand opening in Mississippi
Continental celebrated a major milestone for its new tire plant near Clinton, Miss., with a grand opening event in October. The celebration marks the completion of the construction process, which began in 2016. Continental has committed nearly $1.4 billion and expects to employ 2,500 people when the plant reaches full capacity in the next decade. The project represents the largest economic development announcement for the area in a generation.

Hyundai Motor Group plans to invest $34.6 billion in mobility tech by 2025
Hyundai Motor Group said it plans to invest $34.6 billion in mobility and other auto technologies by 2025. The plan, which encompasses autonomous, connected and electric vehicles as well as technology for ride-sharing, comes after the automaker and two of its affiliates announced an investment of $1.6 billion in a venture with U.S. self-driving tech firm Aptiv.

Henderson Stamping and Production expands Tennessee plant
Henderson Stamping and Production, a metal stamping manufacturer for the appliance and automotive industries, will invest $13.5 million to expand its operations center in Henderson, Tenn. The company plans to create 52 jobs in Chester County.

MM Technics expands factory in Newberry County, S.C.
MM Technics, an American subsidiary of automotive supplier Muhr Metalltechnik, will invest $6 million to expand its production plant in Newberry County. MM Technics has added another metal stamping press and high-speed robotic welding systems to supply automotive companies throughout the United States and Europe.

South Korea-based Shinhwa Group plans manufacturing complex in Auburn, Ala.
The Shinhwa Group, a South Korean-based automotive parts manufacturer, plans to invest $42 million to establish its first manufacturing operation in the U.S in Auburn, Ala. The project is expected to create 95 jobs. Initially, Shinhwa will produce drive shafts for vehicles made by Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama in Montgomery and Kia Motor Manufacturing Georgia, just across the state line in West Point. Looking to the future, Shinhwa plans to expand its production in Auburn to also provide parts for other car manufacturers.

Nokian Tyres opens $360 million plant in Dayton, Tenn.
Finland-based Nokian Tyres’ $360 million factory was unveiled before several hundred people during a ceremony in October. By year’s end, the 830,000-square-foot plant — its first plant in the United States — aims to have as many as 150 employees, and 400 workers when the plant is at full production, making 4 million tires annually.

Goodyear expands tire testing facility in Texas
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has plans for two new expansion projects at its vehicle dynamics proving ground in San Angelo, Texas. The San Angelo facility covers 7,250 acres and includes 58 miles of roads and track, 14 miles of fence and more than 200 test vehicles.

October 2019

October 2019

Metals startup announces new Houston factory
Toyota Tsusho America, the Japanese automaker’s supply chain arm, announced a joint venture with Modumetal, which will be named ModuTAI. They will establish a new production facility in Houston. The new company will make specialized alloy products for the oil and gas industry, and plans to expand into construction, marine and transportation markets.

New manufacturing facility to create 200 jobs in Seguin, Texas
A Michigan-based company is set to build a manufacturing facility that will create 200 new jobs for the city of Seguin. Continental Structural Plastics is making a capital investment of $70 million to construct the 200,000-square-foot facility that will produce lightweight composite solutions for the automotive, heavy truck, HVAC and construction industries.

Injection molder Investing $3.7 million In Virginia
Injection molder Blue Ridge Industries will invest $3.7 million and hire 13 more employees at its manufacturing plant in Winchester, Va., where the female-owned company is based. Founded in 1985, BRI manufactures a wide variety of plastic parts for the automotive, construction, commercial goods and electronic enclosures markets.

Airtech announces $13 million expansion in Tennessee
A Robertson County manufacturer will soon invest $13 million in its plant and add about 30 new jobs. Airtech, a vacuum bagging and composite tooling materials manufacturer, will expand in Robertson County The company serves many sectors, including aerospace and automotive.

Nippon Paint investing $60 million In Tennessee
Nippon Paint will invest approximately $60 million to establish a facility in Chattanooga. The company will create 150 jobs in Hamilton County as it expands its paint and coating products for automotive customers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Navistar plans to build $250 million facility in San Antonio
Illinois-based Navistar, which makes commercial trucks, plans to spend more than $250 million to build a new manufacturing facility in San Antonio, Texas, delivering 600 new jobs to the area. The investment is contingent on finalization of various incentive packages.

Hyundai to invest another $292 million in Alabama plant
Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) recently announced that it’s preparing to invest nearly $300 million more in new machinery and equipment for its factory there. The money will help with production of the redesigned Elantra and Santa Fe vehicles as well as the company’s new, more fuel-efficient Theta engine. Back in June, HMMA celebrated the opening of its new cylinder head manufacturing plant. The 260,000-square-foot facility represents a $388 million investment and 50 new jobs.

Carvana expected to bring 400 new jobs to West Memphis, Ark.
Carvana plans to open an inspection and distribution center in West Memphis. The Arizona-based online auto sales platform, noted for its “car vending machines,” will invest $40 million in the West Memphis facility and plans to eventually employ more than 400 people. Automobiles will be inspected, reconditioned, photographed and stored at the facility.

Toyota’s $391 million expansion is first major renovation of San Antonio plant since 2006
Toyota announced it will spend $391 million to expand its San Antonio truck factory — the biggest capital infusion at the facility since production began in 2006. Once completed, the automaker said its total investment in the plant will exceed $3 billion.

Ford’s new Texas call center to generate 500 jobs
The Ford Motor Company recently announced it would be opening a new customer contact center in Houston, where company officials expect it to generate as many as 500 jobs.

GM Bowling Green plant to add 400 jobs
Automaker GM plans to add a second shift and more than 400 new employees at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant in preparation to build the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette later this year.

Kobelco expands plant in Bowling Green, Ky.
Japan-based automotive parts manufacturer Kobelco Aluminum Products & Extrusions has reached full capacity at its new facility in Bowling Green. The company will undergo a $42 million, 90-job expansion that will push total employment at the plant to 220 and total investment to $95 million.

Navistar to build facility in Texas
Commercial truck and bus manufacturer Navistar will make a capital investment of more than $250 million to build a new manufacturing facility in Texas. The investment will bring approximately 600 jobs to the San Antonio area.

DENSO opens R&D center in Plano, Texas
DENSO, the world’s second largest mobility supplier, will invest $1.3 million to open the Texas Innovation and Connected Service Center in Plano. The company will use state-of-the-art R&D to innovate vehicle service solutions.

India-based Bharat Forge to open in Sanford, N.C.
Bharat Forge America will invest $127.3 million to build an aluminum forging plant to manufacture automobile components in Sanford. The company plans to create 304 jobs there. The new facility in Sanford will be part of a larger manufacturing center that will bring as many as 460 jobs to Lee County.

$400 million expansion underway at Volvo Truck’s Virginia plant
Volvo Trucks North America (VTNA) will invest nearly $400 million over the next six years to upgrade the New River Valley plant that produces all Volvo trucks sold in North America. The upgrades include expansion of the plant’s footprint and installation of equipment.

Toyota supplier to hire 900 in South Texas
Aisin AW, a maker of transmissions for Toyota and other automakers, is building a new plant in Guadalupe County, near San Antonio. The $400 million project will create 900 jobs. Toyota assembles pickup trucks in San Antonio.

Dump truck builder expands into N.C. Triad
Dump Truck body manufacturer Ox Bodies is set to open an operation in High Point, N.C., creating at least 40 jobs. The company will paint dump truck bodies, install those bodies on client-provided chassis, and provide parts, service and installation of other commercial truck accessories in the former Hatteras Yachts building.

Supercar manufacturer moving its U.S. base to North Texas
British supercar manufacturer McLaren Automotive is moving its North American base of operations from New York to Coppell, Texas. McLaren Automotive’s luxury sports cars are manufactured at the company’s plant in Surrey, England, and shipped to the U.S. Since entering the U.S. market eight years ago, McLaren has sold more than 7,000 of its cars, which start at$200,000.

Bendix investing $65 million in Kentucky plant expansion
Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake is investing $65 million to expand its facility in Bowling Green, Ky., and plans to add 100 new jobs. Bendix makes air disc brakes for commercial vehicles.

Brose celebrates plant expansion in Vance, Ala.
Auto parts supplier Brose Tuscaloosa is celebrating the completion of an 80,000-square-foot expansion. The company was recently awarded a contract to produce seat adjustment components for Ford’s F-150. The parts supplier in Vance now employs 700, but that number could grow to 800 in the future.

Auto supplier kicks off construction on $110 million Alabama plant
DaikyoNishikawa US (DNUS) recently celebrated a groundbreaking to officially launch construction on the auto supplier’s $110 million manufacturing plant in North Alabama. The DNUS facility, which will produce plastic automotive parts for the Mazda Toyota Manufacturing assembly plant, will employ approximately 380 people at full production.

North Carolina wins Carvana
North Carolina is offering $1.2 million in tax incentives to Carvana, a move that the Cooper Administration says will result in nearly $512 million for the state’s economy. The e-commerce car sales platform plans to open a new inspection and reconditioning facility in Cabarrus County. The Concord facility’s staff will inspect, refurbish and process vehicles for online sales.

Mobile, Ala., approves $36 million bond issue for tire recycler
A bond issue of up to $36 million is coming down the pipeline for a tire recycling facility in South Alabama. The Mobile County Commission gave the green light for the bond issues for a plant in the Axis area north of Mobile that will reduce tires to raw materials such as steel, carbon black and crumb rubber. The project will likely employ 55 to 60 people.

September 2019

September 2019

New Jersey auto supplier to set up shop in South Carolina
CRP Industries will invest $2.5 million and move into a new 50,000-square-foot facility in Conway, S.C. The power steering systems manufacturer will create 115 jobs in the deal.

Ford to invest $550 million to upgrade the Louisville Assembly Plant
Detroit-based Ford Motor Co. will invest $550 million to install new equipment and modernize its Louisville Assembly plant where it makes the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair models. The investment coincides with a new generation of its high-selling Escape SUV. The new model will incorporate a variety of new technologies.

Honda plant in Alabama has huge economic ripple
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama contributed more than $12 billion in 2018 to the state’s economy. Along with its suppliers, Honda was responsible for more than 45,647 jobs in Alabama, according to an economic impact study released in August by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and the the Center for Business and Economic Research at The University of Alabama.

Auto parts supplier Faurecia opens plant in Missouri
Faurecia’s new 281,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Blue Springs, Mo., is now operational, making doors and dashboards for the Kansas City-made Ford F-150 pickup. The plant is operational, employing about 200 people, however at full buildout, plant employment is expected to top 400.

Toyota supplier to hire 900 in South Texas
Aisin AW, a maker of transmissions for Toyota and other automakers, is building a new plant in Guadalupe County, near San Antonio. The $400 million project will create 900 jobs. Toyota assembles pickup trucks in San Antonio.

Japanese auto parts supplier plans Tennessee plant
HIROTEC Group, a Japan-based global automotive supplier specializing in the production of body-in-white closures, exhaust systems, and closure manufacturing equipment, is investing in a new plant in Fayetteville, Tenn. The new plant will specialize in exhaust production and stamped parts. The $48 million plant will house 100 workers.

Japan-based auto supplier to build plant to serve Mazda-Toyota plant in Alabama
In the summer, Japan-based global automotive supplier Vuteq announced it is investing $60 million to open a new plant that will service Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A., in Huntsville, Ala. The company will produce interior and exterior plastic-injected parts. Mazda and Toyota are currently building their joint venture plant in the Southern Automotive Corridor. The Vuteq project is a $60 million investment that will create 200 jobs.

Hino Motors opens its new West Virginia plant
In the summer, Hino Motors Manufacturing U.S.A. opened its 1 million-square-foot plant in Mineral Wells, W.Va. The company is now making class 6, 7 and 8 conventional trucks. The plant’s capacity is 15,000 trucks per year and at opening, Hino announced a new $40 million expansion that will bring employment at the facility to 800 jobs.

A leading economic indicator? Sales of RVs are sliding.
The recreational vehicle industry is seeing slower sales, a warning sign that a recession is ahead. In every recession since 1980, RV sales tumbled just before the recessions were official. Shipments of RVs have fallen 20 percent so far this year according to the RV Industry Association. In an article in The Wall Street Journal this summer, an economist at Ball State University, Michael Hicks, said, “The RV industry is better at calling recessions than economists are.”

Last year was Alabama’s biggest year ever for foreign direct investment
Alabama has been incredibly successful at recruiting foreign companies to the state. Four foreign automakers operate OEMs in the state with another — Mazda Toyota — building an OEM manufacturing facility. Last year, Alabama saw a record set in foreign direct investment with companies from 16 different countries launching projects with more than 7,500 new jobs. Those announcements set an investment record of $4.2 billion in 2018.

North Carolina on short list to land Mahindra Automotive
Flint, Mich., and Greensboro, N.C., are among the cities in contention to land Mahindra Automotive North America’s second U.S. assembly plant and the 2,000 jobs it would bring. The India-based automaker’s current assembly plant in Auburn Hills, Mich., is at capacity, and a significant expansion is needed to produce new products for the U.S. market.

Italy-Based auto supplier expands Tennessee operations
Athena-SCE, an automotive supplier, will invest more than $3 million to expand operations in Mount Pleasant, Tenn. The company plans to create 36 additional jobs in Maury County to produce gaskets and other sealing devices for automotive and industrial applications.

Hennessey expands in Texas to prep for Venom F5 hypercar
Hennessey Performance Engineering in late July celebrated the groundbreaking of an expansion of its plant in Sealy, Texas, to accommodate increased demand for its tuned vehicles, as well as the upcoming Venom F5 hypercar.

Auto supplier expanding in Chattanooga
A German auto supplier is expanding its operations in Chattanooga, Tenn., which will become its North American headquarters. The $6 million investment will create another 100 jobs in Hamilton County. ATN Hoelzel LP provides robotic gluing equipment for the auto industry.

Motus Integrated Technologies breaks ground on $15 million Alabama plant
Motus Integrated Technologies recently broke ground on its $15 million, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Gadsden, Ala. The 96,000-square-foot facility will create nearly 100 jobs producing headliners, armrests and trim components for the auto industry. The new Gadsden facility will span more than two acres of land and is anticipated to be complete next year.