MONTGOMERY, Alabama – Mercedes-Benz supplier Samvardhana Motherson Group plans to open a $150 million manufacturing facility in Tuscaloosa County, creating 650 jobs by the fourth year of operation, officials announced today.
The new venture, called SMP Automotive Systems Alabama Inc., will manufacture various exterior and interior components for future models produced at the Mercedes assembly plant in Tuscaloosa County. SMP said construction on the 700,000-square-foot facility in the Cedar Cove Technology Park is expected to begin by the end of 2015.
“We are very excited to finally establish a footprint in the Tuscaloosa region. The new plant will be a clear sign of a successful partnership with our customer and the state of Alabama,” said Vivek Chaand Sehgal, chairman of the Samvardhana Motherson Group (SMG).
Governor Robert Bentley joined officials from the company and Tuscaloosa County to make a formal announcement at the State Capitol this morning.
“Alabama has a positive business climate and a skilled workforce that is second to none. We have worked hard to recruit well-paying jobs for the people of this state, and I am honored to see SMP expand to Alabama,” Governor Bentley said. “In coming years, the company will provide 650 new jobs and produce even more products that are ‘Made in Alabama.’”
ACCELERATING AUTO EXPANSION
Mercedes supplier SMP arrives at a time of rapid expansion in Alabama’s auto manufacturing sector. Between 2012 and 2014, Alabama attracted more than $3.6 billion in auto-related investment, strengthening the state’s position at the heart of the growing Southeastern auto cluster. Much of that growth is linked to Alabama’s expanding auto supplier network, which numbers more than 140 companies.
“The Alabama economic development team has targeted growth in the state’s auto supply chain because it serves to strengthen the industry’s foundation here,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Developing partnerships with global suppliers like SMP reflects this strategy and sets the stage for additional job-creation and growth in Alabama’s advanced manufacturing sector.”
Bötzingen, Germany-based SMP has partnerships with many automakers, including Mercedes, Audi, Volkswagen, Porsche, Renault/Nissan and Ford. The company has more than 10,000 employees on four continents, and its annual revenue approached $2.5 billion in 2014/2015.
Located just east of the city of Tuscaloosa, the new SMP facility will be just minutes from the 3.7 million-square-foot Mercedes production center in Vance, where an Alabama workforce assembled 232,000 vehicles in 2014. Mercedes is increasing annual output to 300,000 vehicles after adding new models, including the C-Class sedan and the GLE Coupé, to the production line-up.
“We would like to thank the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority and Alabama for all the support provided to our group, and I can say that we feel very welcome and at home here in Tuscaloosa,” said Andreas Heuser, SMG managing director and head of Corporate Office Europe and Americas.
Dara Longgrear, executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority, said SMP is a solid addition to the county’s robust automotive manufacturing sector.
In addition to the Mercedes assembly plant, Tuscaloosa County is home to a concentration of suppliers. Last year alone, the county attracted auto-related projects involving $90 million in capital investment and more than 1,200 new or future jobs, according to Alabama Department of Commerce data.
“SMP will benefit from the Tuscaloosa region’s reliable labor force and be supported by a successful and continuously improving workforce development and training network,” Longgrear said.