Factory Update – Automotive Expansion in the Southern U.S.

Major facility expansions announced by Honda, Lohman Specialty Coatings and voestalpine.

(Image courtesy of voestalpine Group.)

(Image courtesy of voestalpine Group.)

There’s been some good news for the automotive sector in the Southern United States. Three automotive manufacturers have announced expansions to facilities in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia with a total investment amounting to over USD $100 million.

Honda of South Carolina Announces Plant Expansion

(Image courtesy of Honda of South Carolina.)

(Image courtesy of Honda of South Carolina.)

Honda of South Carolina Mfg., Inc. (HSC) recently announced a new investment of USD $45 million in a 115,000 square foot expansion and innovation project designed to meet growing demand for Honda side-by-side vehicles produced exclusively in the South Carolina plant. The investment is expected to result in the creation of 250 new jobs, which the company has already begun to fill.

HSC is the exclusive global producer of Honda Pioneer side-by-sides, including the 500, 700 and 1000 series models. Prior to today’s announcement, Honda had invested $93 million and added more than 150 new jobs in South Carolina over the past five years.

The expansion and innovation project is intended to enable HSC to meet increasing demand in the evolving side-by-side market by improving manufacturing efficiency, parts flow and logistics. The expansion includes paint, weld, final assembly and material service areas.

As part of the expansion strategy, in 2017, Honda will consolidate assembly of small and medium displacement engines currently conducted at HSC to its Kumamoto Factory in Japan, where large displacement engines are already produced.

According to the company, the move will provide the space needed within the South Carolina plant for expanded production of side-by-side products. HSC has stated that its associates currently engaged in powertrain assembly operations will transfer to other responsibilities within the plant.

For more information, visit the Honda of South Carolina website.

Lohmann Specialty Coatings Breaks Ground on Plant Expansion

(Image courtesy of Lohmann Corporation.)

(Image courtesy of Lohmann Corporation.)

Lohmann Corporation has begun construction of a 25,000 square foot addition to its manufacturing facility in Orange County, Virginia. The company, which engineers specialty adhesive tapes, is increasing capacity in response to a growing global demand in automotive manufacturing and assembly.

“Our Tier 1 and 2 automotive suppliers in the Americas were telling us that they wanted direct access to our adhesive technologies used in their European operations,” said Steven DeJong, president of Lohmann Corporation. “This expansion enables on-site converting and fabrication, making Lohmann a one-stop supplier of adhesives for virtually every automotive surface.”

Orange County successfully competed against Kentucky and West Virginia for the Lohmann plant expansion with an $85,000 boost from Virginia’s Commonwealth Opportunity Fund.

Lohmann anticipates the project will create an additional 56 jobs.

“Automotive manufacturing and assembly operations are growing exponentially in the Americas, and our adhesive tape solutions are used in virtually every interior, exterior, electronic, mechanical and decorative component,” said DeJong. “Just as automobile manufacturers want ready access to their suppliers, suppliers are demanding the same convenient access to our adhesive tapes that their European counterparts enjoy.”

For more information, visit the Lohmann website.

voestalpine Expands U.S. Operations in Response to Major Automotive Order

The Cartersville, Georgia plant. (Image courtesy of voestalpine.)

The Cartersville, Georgia plant. (Image courtesy of voestalpine Group.)

The technology and capital goods group voestalpine plans to increase its revenue in the NAFTA region from the present €1.2 billion to €3 billion (USD $1.3 billion to 3.4 billion) by 2020. A new $500-million order for its automotive sector brings the company one step closer to this goal.

To be able to fulfill this large order from a German premium automotive manufacturer, voestalpine is investing more than $60 million in two US sites. Its automotive component plant in Cartersville, Georgia, opened in 2014, is already entering its third expansion stage, while the Group is also investing in a new site in Birmingham, Alabama. voestalpine expects to create a total of over 400 jobs at these two locations by 2020. 

The Group’s metal forming division currently has more than 30 automotive sites on four continents. It manufacturers sections, tubes and precision steel strip products as well as ready-to-install components made of pressed, stamped and roll-formed parts in steel and in aluminum, with a focus on the automotive industry.

In early July, the metal forming division opened a facility for phs-directform in Germany, where it produces press-hardened, high-strength, corrosion-resistant body parts from hot-dip galvanized steel strip in a single process step.

Expansion in Cartersville, Georgia 

The Group states that approximately $50 million will go into expanding the automotive components plant in Cartersville, Georgia. This is the Group’s first production site for high-strength lightweight body parts in the NAFTA region. The Group states that it has been continually expanding since its opening in 2014.

When the second expansion stage is completed next year, the company expects to have 220 employees. As a result of the current order, the third expansion will begin soon. By 2018, the phs technology will be further rolled out locally—a number of new presses and assembly lines for automotive parts are planned. This will create another 150 jobs in total, according to the company.

The company’s target revenue is roughly $200 million by 2020.

New automotive production in Birmingham, Alabama 

voestalpine is investing an additional $11 million in a new automotive site in Birmingham, Alabama, in the direct vicinity of two production sites belonging to the Group company voestalpine Nortrak, which specializes in the production of turnout systems.

On 5,000 m2 (54,000 sq ft) of leased land, an existing building will be equipped with several automatic assembly lines for the production of automotive parts. Building of the assembly lines will start in the first quarter of 2017. Production is scheduled to start in September 2017. The company states that when it is in full operation, the subsidiary in Birmingham will provide 42 new jobs.

The site is intended to ensure the best possible supply of the nearby automotive customers with time-critical and logistically challenging parts. In the future, it will serve as an additional production hub for Cartersville.

For more information, visit the voestalpine Group website.

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