Southern Auto Corridor - Summer 2020

Vehicle age hits record high - We thought the record age of vehicles in the Great Recession was bad. This is worse. The average age of vehicles on the streets in the U.S. is now 11.9 years old. According to IHS Markit, nearly one in four vehicles are at least 16 years old.ALABAMA

Toyota and Mazda investing extra $830 million into Alabama factory
Mazda Toyota Manufacturing will make an additional $830 million investment to incorporate more cutting-edge manufacturing technologies to its production lines and provide enhanced training for its workforce of up to 4,000 employees at its assembly plant in Huntsville. The original investment was $1.6 billion, and production was scheduled to start in 2021. Now, production is expected to start in 2022 at the now $2.3 billion facility.

Toyota expands Alabama engine plant for the fifth time since 2003
In the summer quarter, Toyota Alabama announced the fifth expansion of its large engine plant in Huntsville. The Japanese automaker is adding 450 jobs in the $1.2 billion investment. Toyota’s engine plant in Alabama serves one third of all Toyota vehicles assembled in the U.S.

Mercedes-Benz to halt C-Class production at Alabama plant
Mercedes-Benz will end production of the C-Class sedan at its plant in Vance, Ala., and at facilities in Mexico. The Tuscaloosa County facility will go back to just making four models of SUVs.

Mercedes plant among first in the world to use innovative production line system
German automaker Mercedes-Benz is one of the first automakers to use a “digital ecosystem” at its plant in Tuscaloosa County. This new system incorporates a mix of software and hardware, including sensors on the vehicles, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and hand-held tablets and smartphones.

DURA Automotive opening new Alabama facility
The Michigan-based DURA Automotive Systems has announced plans to invest $59 million to open a manufacturing facility in Muscle Shoals, Ala., that will produce battery trays for electric vehicles. The project will create 279 jobs and expands the potential for Alabama’s auto industry to capitalize on the growing EV wave.

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

Manufacturer hiring 100 in Cottondale, Ala.
Preferred Precision Group, located in Cottondale, is looking to hire 100 people for manufacturing jobs. PPG provides outsourcing solutions to manufacturers in the automotive, medical device and aerospace industries.



Electric vehicle parts supplier to invest in Georgia plant
GEDIA Automotive Group, a maker of parts for electric vehicles, will invest $85 million to build a manufacturing facility in Whitfield County, Ga. The project will generate 200 jobs.

South Korean battery maker adding 600 jobs
SK Innovation, a manufacturer of batteries for electric vehicles, is adding 600 jobs at its plant in Commerce, Ga. In 2018, the Korean company announced a $1.6 billion, 2,000-job commitment. This expansion is worth $940 million.



Dump truck maker adding jobs in Kentucky
Truck Equipment & Body, a maker of dump truck bodies and truck equipment, is expanding in Powell County, Ky. The $2 million project will create 43 jobs.



Tanker truck transport to create 150 jobs in Louisiana
Highway Transport, a fleet of tanker trucks used by the chemical industry, is expanding and adding 150 jobs in Geismar, La.



Armored car maker to invest $2.3 million, create 30 jobs
CITE Armored is increasing its presence in Mississippi by establishing van production operations in Batesville. The project is a $2.3 million investment and will create 30 jobs by the end of 2021.



Auto supplier plans $45 million expansion in Salisbury, N.C.
Continental Structural Plastics, a manufacturer of automotive and heavy truck composite components, will expand operations with an investment of $45 million in its facility in Salisbury. The company plans to create 61 jobs in Rowan County.



Manufacturer to expand in Bamberg
Phoenix Specialty, a supplier of custom specialty parts to original equipment manufacturers, announced plans to expand operations in Bamberg County. The company’s $5.5 million investment is projected to create 35 new jobs over the next three years.



Auto supplier expands Murfreesboro, Tenn., operations
A leading international automotive supplier based in Germany, MAHLE, will expand its operations in Murfreesboro. The project is expected to create 300 jobs. The 140,000-square-foot expansion will support new injection molding production on site.

Nokian Tyres adding 50 jobs to Dayton, Tenn., workforce
The Nokian Tyres factory in Dayton, Tenn., is hiring for a second shift with plans to immediately add about 50 more employees.

Auto supplier to add jobs in Tennessee
Mann+Hummel is filling 100 jobs for its Dunlap, Tenn., plant. The automotive supplier plant currently houses 300 workers and makes manifolds and air boxes for Ford, GM, BMW and Nissan.


The much-anticipated announcement by Tesla finally came down on the side of the longhorns. Texas Gov. Greg Abbot celebrates with Elon Musk.TEXAS

Tesla picks Austin for $1 billion factory
In the summer quarter, California-based Tesla announced it has chosen a site near the Austin airport for a new $1 billion assembly plant complex. The electric car manufacturer has a plant in Fremont, Calif., and in Shanghai. It also plans to build a factory near Berlin. CEO Elon Musk promised the new facility on the Colorado River will be an “ecological paradise.” The plant will create 5,000 jobs at the start.

GM hires back laid off workers at Texas plant
GM temporarily laid off workers at its large SUV plant in Arlington, Texas., after GM idled many assembly plants between late March and mid-May. They are now hiring them back in the hundreds.


Torc Robotics, a leader in self-driving vehicle systems, will invest $8.5 million to expand in Montgomery County, Va. The project will create 350 new jobs.VIRGINIA

Torc Robotics to expand in Montgomery County, Va.
Torc Robotics, a Blacksburg-based leader in self-driving vehicle systems, will invest $8.5 million to expand its software development operations in Montgomery County. The company will establish an additional facility at the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center close to its current operation in the Blacksburg Industrial Park. The project will create 350 new jobs.

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