Global auto parts manufacturer Magna International will spend $16 million to build its fifth Tennessee factory just north of General Motors' Spring Hill complex — which is getting two new models in the coming years — where it will build seat assemblies. The company, which also runs a plant in Columbia, plans to hire 357 people for Spring Hill over the next two years, with 75 workers to start. And it is moving quickly to get ready for GM: Its new 122,500-square-foot facility is expected to be up and running by January.
"This new facility demonstrates our commitment to GM in delivering high-quality products through our world-class manufacturing initiatives," said Mike Bisson, president of Magna Seating. "We are pleased to support our customer and look forward to potential growth opportunities."
Magna is one of the bigger names in the auto supplier sector. The company runs more than 60 manufacturing or assembly plants across the United States and employes more than 23,000 people.
United Auto Workers members in Spring Hill last week voted to approve with General Motors a new contract that will bring another 384 jobs here. The new positions cover a variety of work and are on top of the 1,800 people GM said this summer it planned to hire locally. The agreement — see the highlights here — also sets the stage for Spring Hill to receive two new "core products" — and presumably, some more jobs — in the near future. Local 1853 Shop Chairman Mike Herron tells Chambers Williams there's no way to tell when that will be and that it will happen "when the company decides the timing is right."
General Motors is preparing to send more work to its Spring Hill manufacturing complex. Tim Hodge at the Daily Herald reports that the auto giant plans to add a second shift to its engine plant in Maury County. The move means another 100 people will by next fall be cranking out four-cylinder Ecotec engines.
Mike Herron, United Auto Workers Local 1853 bargaining chairman, said the engine plant currently employs about 600 people. The UAW is bargaining a new contract involving Spring Hill workers, and the announcement is an “outcropping” of the negotiations, he added.
“I think it's further indication of the competitiveness of the facility and the outstanding workmanship of our people,” Herron said about the announcement.
General Motors will lay off up to 75 employees at its Spring Hill plant due to slowing market demand. Duane Marsteller and The Tennessean have the story here. Word of the move comes less than a week after Volkswagen said it will cut 500 contract employees because of slackness in sedan sales.
Two quick hits on the current state of and future prospects for electric car adoption: First, Brad Tuttle at Time says the rollout of new models by Chevrolet and Fiat as well as the increased production of batteries should help lower prices and bring more consumers in the market. But, he adds, that won't create a legion of evangelists; too many people are still not looking past the pitfalls of electric-car technology. Secondly, Steve LeVine at Quartz points out that energy giant ExxonMobil is projecting that electric cars will account for a tenth of all sales in 2040.
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