Fall 2022

 BMW to invest $1.7 billion in Upstate South Carolina

Announced in 1992, the German automaker BMW plans to invest $1.7 billion in its U.S. operations to build electric vehicles and batteries, the company announced in October. The investment includes a new line to produce electric vehicles at its plant that employs over 10,000 in Spartanburg County. It also includes $700 million to make battery assemblies in nearby Woodruff, S.C. The automaker expects to build six electric models at the plant by 2030.

 

Mercedes-Benz unveils electric SUV to be built in Alabama

Mercedes-Benz Group AG announced it will build the EQE SUV at the Paris car show in the fall quarter. The German automaker also makes the flagship EQS sedan at its Alabama complex. Mercedes’ goal is to go all electric by the end of the decade.

 

Ford announces big deal in Louisville

Michigan-based Ford Motor Company will invest $700 million in its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville. The facility produces the all-new Ford F-Series Super Duty truck, among other models. Ford is the largest maker of vehicles in Kentucky and its two Louisville plants house over 12,000 workers.

 

BMW makes its 6 millionth vehicle at South Carolina plant

A BMW X6 rolled off the line in October, representing the 6 millionth vehicle made at its plant in Spartanburg County, S.C. The plant houses over 10,000 employees and has been in operation for 30 years.

 

Bridgestone announces major Tennessee expansion

Bridgestone announced a major expansion and modernization of its Warren County, Tenn. Truck and Bus Radial (TBR) Tire Plant located in Morrison. The $550 million investment will add 380 new jobs and expand the plant’s existing footprint by 850,000 square feet to support increased capacity and to accelerate the use of advanced technologies that support cleaner, safer and more efficient commercial truck and bus fleets.

 

Boysen USA establishing operations in Spartanburg County, S.C.

Boysen USA, a subsidiary of the German-based Boysen Group, announced plans to expand its South Carolina presence with a new operation in Spartanburg County. The company’s $4.5 million investment will create 88 new jobs. A specialist in automotive exhaust technology, Boysen USA develops and manufactures exhaust manifolds, catalytic converters, particulate traps, silencers and complete exhaust systems for leading original equipment manufacturers.

 

Governor Ivey announces Hyundai Mobis plans EV battery plant in Montgomery, Ala.

Governor Kay Ivey recently joined executives of Hyundai Mobis, one of the world’s largest auto suppliers, to announce the company’s plans to invest $205 million to open an EV battery module plant in Montgomery that will eventually employ at least 400 people. Once it reaches full production, the 450,000-square-foot facility will be able to supply over 200,000 EV batteries annually to the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) factory in Montgomery and the Kia Georgia plant. “Alabama’s auto manufacturing sector is evolving rapidly to capitalize on the EV revolution that is sweeping the industry, and this new Hyundai Mobis battery plant represents another milestone in that transition,” said Governor Ivey. “We’re excited about the company’s new investment and what it represents for the next chapter of auto making in Alabama.”

 

After some thought, Toyota joins big in the EV manufacturing craze.

Toyota adds $2.5 billion on top of the $1.3 billion initial investment announced for its first U.S. battery factory in Liberty, N.C., near Greensboro. Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina is expected to produce batteries for its electric vehicle at the site in 2025.

Automakers, both foreign and domestic, have begun a land grab of tens of thousands of acres in the South to product electric vehicles and their primary parts, such as batteries.

Toyota officials have been slow to announce EV deals until now. In late August, Toyota’s Executive Vice President, Jack Hollis, said in multiple media reports that “the consumer isn’t demanding (EVs) at that level,” referring to the growing movement towards electric vehicles in the U.S.

 

Mercedes begins assembling electric vehicles at Alabama plant

Twenty-five years after rolling out SUV job No. 1 at its plant in Vance, Ala., German automaker Mercedes-Benz assembled its first electric SUV at its only U.S. OEM facility. Five years of development and $1 billion in investments for battery-making and a new assembly line has created 1,000 new jobs in West Alabama. During that time, Mercedes has faced all kinds of hurdles to start EV production, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the semi-conductor shortage, staffing challenges and global supply chain issues. The automaker houses nearly 5,000 workers at its plants in Tuscaloosa and Bibb counties.

 

Two-million-square-foot industrial park planned near Mazda Toyota in North Alabama

Fairway Investments and Triad Properties have purchased land to build a two-million-square foot industrial park off Greenbriar Parkway in the fast-growing Limestone County part of Huntsville. The property is located a short distance from the $2.3 billion Mazda and Toyota’s joint venture automotive assembly plant in Limestone County, Ala. The name of the park will be the Huntsville West Industrial Park.

 

Monster electric vehicle plant’s construction has first job fair

Barnett Southern hosted a job fair in the Savannah, Ga., area to attract laborers to help begin excavation ahead of construction at the Bryan County megasite that will house the incoming Hyundai EV plant.  Over 1,000 jobseekers attended the job fair.

 

Japanese electric vehicle parts maker to shift location of $150 million plant from South Carolina to Georgia

Nippon Denkai will build a $150 million plant in Augusta, Ga., instead of its original site in Camden, S.C. The plant will make copper foil for electric vehicle batteries. The company will hire 100 in the deal.

 

Electric vehicle parts maker making major investment in Kentucky

In late August, Envision AESC broke ground on a $2 billion electric vehicle battery gigafactory in Bowling Green’s Kentucky Transpark. The deal, a further testament that the EV industry is positively affecting just about every Southern state, is expected to generate 2,000 jobs.

 

EV battery parts maker to invest over $300 million in Western Kentucky

Massachusetts-based Ascend Elements picks Hopkinsville for a plant that will produce materials for electric vehicle batteries, Gov. Andy Beshear announced in August. The plant will house up to 400 employees.

 

Automotive supplier Purem by Eberspaecher to add 250 workers in Louisville, Ky.

Purem by Eberspaecher, a German automotive supplier, celebrated the opening of its Louisville operation in August. The deal will create 250 jobs.

 

Vietnamese electric carmaker to receive largest incentive package in North Carolina history

VinFast, a Vietnam-based EV manufacturer, will receive an incentive package from the state of North Carolina that will top $1 billion. VinFast is quickly entering the North American and European markets and will employ thousands at its plant in Chatham County, N.C.

 

Bosch will invest $200 million to build fuel cells for electric trucks in South Carolina

German auto supplier Bosch said it will invest more than $200 million to build fuel cells for electric trucks in South Carolina. Bosch plans to expand an existing factory in Anderson, S.C., to build the fuel cell “stacks” starting in 2026. The investment is expected to create at least 350 new jobs at the factory, the company said.

 

Foreign-based tire makers grow to invest more than $5 billion in Tennessee

The world’s biggest tire manufacturers are boosting their investments and tire output in Tennessee with nearly $1.2 billion of additional investments announced in just the past week. The South Korean-based Hankook Tire & Technology Company said it will invest another $612 million in its Clarksville, Tenn., plant and add 397 more jobs over the next five years.

 

South Korean company to locate first North American in Tennessee

Duksan Electera America will locate a new manufacturing facility in Shelbyville, Tenn. The EV-based parts maker will invest $95 million and hire over 100 in the deal.

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.