West Virginia Department of Commerce On a roll: Automotive industry

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On a roll: Automotive industry

On a Roll: Automotive Industry 

West Virginia’s motor vehicle parts and equipment sector is revving up the state’s economy and employment.

Troy Thomas, General Manager, Allevard Sogefi USA, Inc.

"We expect our business to double in 2013 and continue substantial growth in the following years. Investment and employment will follow this trend.”

Troy Thomas,
General Manager
Allevard Sogefi USA, Inc.

In 2012, Toyota, Hino, Nippon Thermostat and Allevard Sogefi expanded and Gestamp opened a new plant. These and suppliers like NGK Spark Plugs USA, Inc. and Diamond Electric Mfg. Corp. report that West Virginia’s central location, skilled workers and lower energy costs help them serve their U.S. auto industry clients while lowering operating costs. Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia has expanded seven times since coming to the state in 1996. Its new plans to invest $45 million to increase automatic transmission production will bring total employment to 1,200 and total investment to $1.3 billion in Buffalo, W.Va.

Because of Toyota’s success, one of its subsidiaries, Hino Motors Manufacturing USA, opened its only U.S. truck assembly plant in Williamstown, W.Va., in 2007. After winning numerous quality awards, Hino announced a $3 million investment in machinery, equipment and improvements. This move creates at least 20 more full-time jobs.

Responding to increased demand for its automotive filters, Allevard Sogefi USA is investing $5.5 million to upgrade its equipment and facility in Prichard, W.Va. The company plans to grow its current workforce of 95 up to 160 people by October 2013.

Finally, international giant Gestamp announced plans to invest $100 million and create 400 jobs. Gestamp will supply Volkswagen, Renault-Nissan, GM, Ford, Chrysler, BMW, Fiat and Toyota (among others) from its one million square foot plant in South Charleston, W.Va.

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Nippon Thermostat

Nippon Thermostat of America Corp. (NTAC) built its facility in Fraziers Bottom, W.Va., in 2004, making it the Japanese company’s first plant in the United States. A new $4 million investment to the Putnam County location will double the plant’s 26,000 square-foot manufacturing facility and create 30 jobs, which will more than double its current workforce.

NTAC supplies engine thermostats for automotive manufacturers including Honda and Toyota. The parent company Nippon Thermostat Co., Ltd. (NTCL) holds the largest share of Japan’s thermostat market. State and company officials credit the dedicated workforce and West Virginia’s great business climate for the expansion.