Faurecia to invest $30 million in US plant

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Photo by Faurecia SA Faurecia's North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.

French automotive supplier Faurecia SA plans to invest another $30m (€26.6m) in US plastics-intensive operations.

Faurecia Interior Systems Inc. has earmarked Spring Hill, Tennessee, for a factory that will make door panels when it comes on stream in July 2019. The 28 Aug announcement follows a February announcement for a similar, larger plant slated for Blue Springs, Missouri. On the drawing board awaiting approvals is an instrument panel manufacturing facility for Ohio.

Faurecia Interiors plans to create 143 jobs in the Spring Hill project. A new, 145,000-square-foot facility will house injection moulding equipment needed to make the door panels, according to spokeswoman Dawn Swindle. The site also will include welding, assembly, testing, traceability and sequencing equipment, similar to what is planned on a bigger scale for the new Missouri operation.

"This is the result of new business with one of our customers," Swindle noted in an email. "The location was chosen in order to be close to that customer, and because of the tremendous opportunity for additional growth with other OEMs in the region."

Swindle did not identify the customer but General Motors Corp. operates an auto assembly plant in Spring Hill. GM's plant originally opened in 1990 to make Saturn vehicles, but the company has since retooled the factory to assemble other vehicles. The 6.9 million-square-foot operation includes two injection moulding plants for interior and exterior components, as well as assembly and engine manufacturing. It employs more than 3,000 and a few years ago was reportedly GM's largest plant in North America. Since 2010, GM has invested more than $2bn (€1.77bn) in Spring Hill, mainly for engine manufacturing and vehicle assembly.

The Tennessee and Missouri announcements bookend a July announcement for an instrument panel plant in Toledo, Ohio. Faurecia Interiors said it plans to invest $11m (€9.7m) in a 73,000-square-foot operation due to begin production in April 2019. It predicts some 100 jobs will be created in the project. Swindle said the project is contingent on final approvals from the state and local governments. Faurecia currently employs more than 750 at exhaust systems operations in Franklin, Toledo and Troy, Ohio.

"We are excited to expand our presence in North America to the Spring Hill community of Tennessee," stated Faurecia Interior president Donald Hampton, Jr. in a news release.

"Tennessee's automotive sector continues to be one of our strongest industries with more than 135,000 automotive workers across the state," noted Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam in a news release.

Faurecia SA, based in Nanterre, France, operates about 300 sites in 35 countries making auto interior systems, automotive seating and emissions control systems. Its North American headquarters is in Auburn Hills, Mich. It logged North American sales of $5.3bn (€4.7bn) last year from 50 locations in the US, Canada and Mexico.


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