North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2017

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28 N o r t h C a r o l i N a E C o N o m i C D E v E l o p m E N t G u i D E etter known for its apple orchards, hiking trails and mountain views, Henderson County may seem like an unlikely place for auto-parts manufacturers to establish state-of-the-art factories. When Linamar Corp. and GF Automotive revealed in early 2016 plans to open a jointly-owned plant in the county of 111,000 people, it was yet another example of how the industry is growing in western North Carolina. Scheduled to begin production in mid-2017, the $217 million GF Linamar LLC facility will make lightweight aluminum die-casting components for automakers, creating about 350 jobs over five years. This new facility adds to Canada-based Linamar's other locations in the state: The 50-year-old company, which had sales of $4 billion in 2015, also has a machining and assembly plant in neighboring Buncombe County and a forging plant in Wilson County, in eastern North Carolina. Adding to the momentum is Titusville, Fla.-based Krystal Engineering LLC, which is opening a new $21 million production facility in Caldwell County and creating 82 jobs over five years with an average annual wage of more than $60,000. Krystal makes a variety of electronics components for the automotive and other industries. Company officials said they were attracted to the area due to such factors as low energy costs, a skilled workforce and training resources such as Caldwell Community College. "Perhaps the most important advantage for us has been the longstanding relationships we have with several key members of the business community here," CEO Mark Rauchfuss said in a news release announcing the project. "The level of enthusiasm and desire that we encountered has been extraordinary — no other state is able to offer this combination of compelling attributes." A month after GF Linamar's announcement, Germany-based Demmel Inc. announced plans to invest about $4.3 million in a new 90,000-square- foot production facility in Henderson County's East Flat Rock community and build a 50-person workforce over the next five years. The company will make trim parts and decals for BMW, which makes crossover SUVs at Auto-component manufacturers are revving up in North Carolina. B y S a m B o y k i n c a s e s t u d y | A U T O - P A R T S M A N U F A C T U R I N G full speed ahead B Canada-based Linamar Corp. opened a machining plant in western North Carolina in 2012. Now, the company is partnering with Switzerland's GF Automotive to build a $217 million plant that will produce aluminum components for automakers. T ay L o R J o H n S on

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