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 Southern Auto Corridor News
January 2017

For real-time news on business, politics and economic development in the South, go to For all projects announced in the South, go to And for more information on rural development in the South, visit

Right-to-work passed in Kentucky
Kentucky adopted right-to-work legislation in the winter quarter. The measure gives workers the choice to not pay union dues or fees as a condition of employment. Kentucky became the 27th right-to-work state. . .now all states in the South are right-to-work except for Missouri. Missouri is expected to pass the measure soon.  
Gov. Haslam: VW committed to Chattanooga facilities
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said in January that in the midst of pleading guilty of criminal charges over the diesel emissions scandal, German automaker Volkswagen is committed to growing its only U.S. plant in Chattanooga, Tenn. Haslam said he talked to several VW officials after the company settled with the federal government for $4.3 billion for cheating on emissions tests and destroying evidence to cover it up. Haslam said VW officials assured him that the automaker will continue to add jobs at the plant. 
Toyota planning to spend $10 billion in the U.S. in next five years
Including its new headquarters being completed in Plano, Texas, the CEO of Japanese automaker Toyota said in January the company will spend $10 billion in the U.S. over the next five years. CEO Jim Lentz, in response to criticism from President Donald Trump over building cars in Mexico, said that the company will spend the $10 billion in the U.S. on autonomous vehicles, to update existing plants and finish its new North American headquarters in Plano.  
Toyota begins relocating employees from Kentucky 
One of Toyota’s former headquarter operations in Erlanger, Ky., is relocating its employees as the Japanese automaker consolidates three U.S. headquarters into one in Plano, Texas. Toyota has already relocated hundreds of employees from its former headquarters in Southern California to Plano. When completed later this year, Toyota’s new North American headquarters in Plano will house 4,000 to 5,000 employees. 
Toyota's Alabama engine plant sees record production
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama saw record growth at its engine plant in Huntsville. The workers at the facility built 702,014 engines in calendar year 2016, an 11 percent increase over 2015. 
BMW sets unit record at South Carolina plant
German automaker BMW recorded its largest annual production total in calendar year 2016 at its plant in Greer, S.C. The plant produced 411,171 X models in 2016. Of those, the company exported 287,700 vehicles last year. 
Continental Tire expanding North Texas distribution facility 
Continental Tire is adding almost 300,000 square feet to its distribution center in Grand Prairie, Texas. The expansion will give the company more than 1 million square feet. No word yet on job additions. 
Bridgestone investing $180 million in North Carolina operation
In 2015, Tennessee-based Bridgestone invested $164 million in its facility in Wilson, N.C.. The company announced in the winter quarter it is investing $180 million more in the facility, however, only 16 jobs will be added.   
Alabama’s auto industry sets assembly record
Alabama’s three automotive assembly plants set a record in calendar year 2016 with 1,048,597 cars, vans and SUVs assembled. It was the second year in a row that the three automakers combined to produce over 1 million vehicles. 
Auto industry sets U.S. sales record
Last year was the seventh consecutive year of growth in car sales. In the U.S., 17.55 million cars and light trucks were sold, an industry record. 
Electric bus manufacturer expanding in South Carolina
Thanks to an infusion of $140 million in cash, electric bus manufacturer Proterra will triple assembly production at its plant in Greenville, S.C. The company, which employs 165 workers, will add 25 jobs and produce about 90 buses this year. 
Hyundai subsidiary to take over part of former GM plant in Shreveport
Glovis America, a subsidiary of South Korea-based Hyundai, will take 125,000 square feet of space in the former General Motors plant in Shreveport, La. The company will use it as a distribution center and a parts aftermarket for imported vehicles. Glovis will outfit imported vehicles with equipment and exterior upgrades such as security systems, sunroofs and additional electronics. The project will create 400 jobs. 
Manufacturing boom at end of 2016
The U.S. manufacturing sector saw an expansion in December of 2016 that was the best since August 2009. 
German auto supplier invests in North Carolina
Kaco USA, a Germany-based manufacturer of sealing solutions for the automotive industry, will expand its facility in Lincolnton, N.C. The company is investing $8.4 million and adding 100 workers in the deal. 
Automaker GM will expand its in-house finance company in Arlington, Texas
The $35 million investment at GM Financial will bring 1,300 new jobs to its Arlington campus. The addition of 250,000 square feet of new office space will allow the company to surpass 4,000 employees. 
Leading automotive supplier constructing new manufacturing plant in South Carolina
Magna International is building a new automotive seat manufacturing plant in Spartanburg County. The company will invest $29 million and create 480 new jobs. 
BMW parts supplier investing in South Carolina
Magna International is adding a new $29 million plant in Spartanburg County. The investment will bring a total of 480 new jobs to the area.
Volkswagen hiring in Chattanooga
Hiring for production of the new VW Atlas SUV is underway in Chattanooga. The factory plans to hire 600 more workers by mid-March. 
After economic incentive approval, GKN Driveline to create 302 jobs in North Carolina
The auto parts manufacturer will expand four of its plants after North Carolina economic development leaders approved $3 million in incentives over the next several years. The company plans to invest $179 million.
Bosch expanding North Carolina plant
The German engineering and electronics company will make a $13.3 million investment in new equipment and machinery for its Robert Bosch Tool Corp’s facility in Lincolnton, N.C. The investment will include the addition of more than 50 jobs. 

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