‘Proof of our success’: Another automotive supplier chooses Alabama for new facility
Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday announced that the Shinhwa Group, a major South Korea-based automotive parts manufacturer, plans to establish a manufacturing operation in Auburn to serve the region’s booming auto manufacturing sector.
In a statement, Ivey said, “Shinhwa’s decision to invest $42 million and create 95 jobs in Auburn is great news for Alabama. Alabama has become an important player in a changing automotive industry, and Shinhwa’s plans to open its first U.S. plant in Auburn is proof of our success.”
Alabama is home to an already robust and still growing automotive cluster that produces around 1 million vehicles annually. The Yellowhammer State’s automotive manufacturing sector also provides an estimated 40,000 direct jobs.
Shinhwa’s high-level automation and innovative solutions to technological challenges represent an important new resource for existing automotive companies in the area.
“The Shinhwa Group has become a leader in the aluminum die casting industry because of our willingness to overcome technical challenges,” said Kwi-Hyun Lee, CEO of the Shinhwa Group. “We are proud to call Auburn our new home and to serve our customers in the U.S.A.”
Initially, Shinhwa will produce drive shafts for vehicles made by Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama in Montgomery and Kia Motor Manufacturing Georgia, just across the state line in West Point, GA.
Additionally, Shinhwa plans to expand its production in Auburn in the future to provide parts for other car manufacturers.
“We will start our U.S. project by introducing a highly automated machining process to be followed in the near future with our die casting lines,” explained Duk Keun Oh, president of the newly founded Shinhwa U.S. Auto Corp. “We are grateful for our collaboration with Seohan in Auburn and see great opportunities for our growth in North America.”
Shinhwa was founded in Changwon, South Korea, in 1995, and the Auburn operation will be its first manufacturing location in the U.S.
The company has begun construction of its new facility in the Auburn Technology Park West, and Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed in summer 2020.
“Companies like Shinhwa are assets to our community, ensuring that our larger region benefits from the high-tech manufacturing happening here in Auburn,” said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders. “We are grateful for the confidence that the company’s leadership has in Auburn and look forward to the significant economic impact this project will have for our city.”
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, added that Shinhwa’s capabilities bring a new dimension to the state’s automotive supply chain, which has been expanding rapidly through new investment in recent years.
“Shinhwa is a welcome addition to Alabama’s network of high-caliber auto suppliers,” Canfield remarked. “I’m confident that Shinhwa will realize major benefits from the technical talents of Alabama’s workforce and the state’s business-friendly environment. Working together, I know we can build a solid future.”
This comes weeks after it was announced that Alabama was the top state for jobs created by foreign investments in 2018.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn