Southern Auto Corridor - Spring 2021

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

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


Mazda Toyota set to begin production in Alabama
To date, Mazda Toyota has hired 1,600 workers for its plant in Huntsville that will soon begin mass production. In June, the joint venture announced the first vehicle to be made at the plant — the Toyota Corolla Cross small SUV. Mazda Toyota still has to hire 2,400 more workers, which they have found particularly tough during a pandemic. Danielle Winningham, executive director of the Tuscaloosa County EDA (home of Mercedes-Benz) said that her county alone will see about 3,200 new jobs created in the next two to three years.

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Auto supplier creating 200 jobs in Louisville with new facility
Michigan-based Eberspaecher North America, a system developer and supplier of exhaust technology, thermal management systems and automotive electronics, is expected to create 214 jobs with a new facility in Louisville.


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

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


Magna Mirrors bringing 300 new jobs with $31 million factory build in Duncan
Magna Mirrors is constructing a $31 million manufacturing facility in Duncan. The facility is expected to employ 300 people to produce high-tech vehicle mirrors with cameras and sensor technology.

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


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

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

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


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


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


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

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