CHICAGO Automakers, auto suppliers and metal companies in six states have announced expansion projects over the past month with a combined value of nearly $158 million.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana Inc. will hire 90 production workers by the end of July as its Princeton, Ind., assembly plant prepares to build the 2014 Highlander, in addition to hybrid and export models. The company will have hired 446 production workers by the end of the month, nearly 50 more than was planned when the $400-million Highlander expansion was announced 16 months ago. The extra staffing reflects plans to build 50,000 more vehicles per year.
Harrodsburg, Ky.-based Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas Inc. will invest $80 million to expand in Monroe, Ga., creating 250 jobs. The company, which makes valve timing mechanisms, propeller shafts and power steering systems for several automakers, will build a 290,000-square-foot plant to complement its current 230,000 square feet of production space.
Tier I auto component supplier Aisin Electronics Illinois LLC is investing $32.8 million to expand its Marion, Ill., plant, creating 80 full-time jobs. Aisin will nearly triple the size of its Illinois operation with a 108,000-square-foot expansion scheduled to open in March.
Henderson, Ky.-based Gibbs Die Casting Corp. will spend $22.8 million to expand its production of aluminum and magnesium castings, machining assembly and die production. The project includes new manufacturing lines for automotive eight-speed transmission parts and rear axles.
Angus-Palm LLC, a subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based Worthington Industries Inc. that manufactures engineered cabs for mobile and off-road equipment, will spend $13 million to expand its Florence, S.C., plant and install several new product lines. The investment is expected to generate 55 jobs over the next four years.
Argon Industries Inc., a Milwaukee-based contract manufacturer of precision sheet metal parts for generators, appliances, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment, has purchased a former Dana Corp. plant and is installing new tooling, for a total investment of $4.5 million. Argon will consolidate the operations of two leased buildings into the larger Dana plant, eventually creating up to 79 jobs and more than doubling the work force.
Sekido Technology Corp., which cold-forms metal components for the automotive and tool industries, has spent $3.7 million to expand an existing facility in Williamston, S.C., and install new equipment, creating six jobs.
Anderson, S.C.-based General Machine of Anderson Inc. will spend $800,000 to expand its metalworking operations, generating at least 20 jobs. The companys added space will house new equipment to allow for an increase in machining, fabricating and manufacturing capacity. All the work is expected to be completed by November.