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Alabama auto industry grows as expanding parts suppliers add nearly 500 jobs

MONTGOMERY, Alabama – The rapidly growing Alabama auto industry is finding a higher gear as three expanding parts suppliers are beefing up their operations in the state and adding a combined 467 jobs.

“Alabama is ideally situated in the center of the Southeast auto corridor for new auto industry projects and expansions, particularly suppliers,” said Greg Canfield, Alabama’s Secretary of Commerce.

The three projects that have been announced in in recent days are:

>>>This week, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller said Mando America Corp., a Hyundai supplier that opened a facility there in 2005, will invest $35 million to expand and add equipment. The company will add 67 jobs.

Fuller said the project will lift Mando’s workforce in Opelika to 700 and its capital investment at the Lee County facility to $190 million.

“We are extremely honored by Mando’s continued confidence in Opelika and the additional investment in our area,” Fuller said. “This company is one of our largest manufacturing employers and we appreciate the employment opportunities for our citizens.”

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said the state continues to be an attractive site for auto industry investment and pledged to support Mando’s expansion plans.

“It is a sign of successful operations when existing industries continue to invest and add additional employees,” Governor Bentley said. “We will be here to assist Mando through the Alabama Department of Commerce as they continue to grow and employ Alabama citizens.”

Mando’s Opelika operations produce brake corner modules, brake calipers, suspension modules and steering systems.

>>>DAS North America, a car seat manufacturer that supplies the Hyundai and Kia assembly plants, said it plans to build a 300,000-square-foot facility in the Montgomery Industrial and aims to add 300 workers over the next four years to its current total of 100.

DAS last year announced plans to come to Montgomery, the site of Hyundai’s only U.S. plant, and moved into a temporary spot in Hope Hull before settling into a permanent home. The new facility will be twice as large as the original plans, according to a report in The Montgomery Advertiser.

“Instead of expanding and expanding, we decided to go ahead and invest in the front end, expecting all of this new business to come our way,” James Uhm, chief operating officer of DAS North America, told the paper.

>>>KwangSung, a maker of plastic tubing for automobiles, has plans to invest $10 million and add 100 jobs as it expands its operation in Dadeville in Tallapoosa County, according to a report in The Alex City Outlook. The parts maker opened its Alabama operation in 2007.

“They are out of room to install more machinery to produce more parts,” Don McClellan, executive director of the Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance, told the paper. “You can see that they have exceeded the investment they promised. They have exceeded every expectation that we had of them in the beginning.”



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