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 Southern Auto Corridor News
March 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

Southern states top employee engagement list
A new report by Gallup showed that Alabama is the No. 1 state in the U.S. when it comes to employee engagement, with 37 percent of the state's workers engaged in their jobs. Following Alabama were Kentucky, Delaware and Louisiana. 
Alabama auto production hits 10 million mark
In 2016, Alabama's cumulative auto production surpassed the 10 million mark. The state is home to assembly plants operated by Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai. 
Southern MSAs dominate fastest-growing manufacturing workforces
Metros in the South made up seven of the top 10 fastest-growing manufacturing workforces according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Since 2011, Louisville led all U.S. metros with 27.2 percent growth in manufacturing jobs. Nashville was second at 27 percent, followed by Daytona Beach, Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Columbia, S.C., Lakeland and Sarasota-Bradenton. 
Toyota sets milestone at Alabama plant
In February, the 5 millionth engine was produced at Toyota Motor Manufacturing's plant in Huntsville. The facility has been open for less than 16 years. The Huntsville factory is the only Toyota engine plant in the world where V6, V8 and 4-cylinder engines are assembled under one roof. 
Auto supplier picks Alabama for new plant
Spain-based Grupo Antolin is investing over $10 million to establish a plant in Jefferson County, Ala., near Birmingham. The parts supplier has 161 production plants worldwide. The new Alabama plant will house 150 workers.
Alabama auto parts supplier adding 100 jobs
Nemak Alabama, a maker of aluminum engine heads and cylinders, is expanding its plant in Sylacauga, Ala. The company is adding 100 jobs. 
BMW is No. 1 vehicle exporter in the U.S.
S.C.-based BMW remained the No. 1 automobile exporter in 2016. The German automaker exported 287,700 X SUV models last year valued at $9.53 billion. 
India-based Volvo supplier setting up shop in Dorchester County, S.C.
Sundaram-Clayton, an India-based maker of aluminum cast products for the automotive industry, is building a new plant near the Volvo facility that is under construction in Berkeley County, S.C. The company will invest $50 million in the plant and hire 130. The facility will be operational when Volvo begins assembly cars in late 2018. 
Auto supplier expands in Aiken County, S.C.
The Carlstar Group, a manufacturer of specialty wheels and tires, is expanding its facility for more capacity in Aiken County, S.C. The $6.9 million project will create 43 new jobs. 
Alabama exports set record
In 2016, companies in Alabama set a record for exports. State exports rose 6.4 percent to $20.6 billion. The previous record was $19.6 billion in 2012. Alabama exports have almost doubled in the last 10 years. Transportation equipment, including automobiles, auto parts, aircraft and aircraft components led the way in 2016. 
Kentucky shatters export record
Kentucky's exports broke a record in 2016 with $29.24 billion in goods and services shipped from the Commonwealth. The total was a 5.8 percent increase from 2015. Aerospace-related products topped all industry sectors in Kentucky's exports for last year. 
Augusta area led Georgia in manufacturing projects last year
Richmond County, where Augusta is located, led the state last year in new and expanding manufacturing projects, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Richmond County captured 11 major manufacturing projects in 2016. 
GM investing $27 million in its Tennessee plant for vehicles headed to Australia
General Motors is investing $27 million so its workers can assemble the Holden Acadia, a right-hand driving SUV that will be exported to Australia. The additional work will retain 215 jobs at the Spring Hill, Tenn. plant. 

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