GM, Volvo, Honda, Toyota investing in US operations

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October 16, 2017
Toyota employees in Buffalo, West Virginia, build 4-cylinder engines. Toyota is investing $373.8 million to upgrade engine and component production to support next-generation hybrid vehicles.

Major automaker officials announced more than $1.2 billion in new plant and design center investments in the United States during 2017’s third quarter. The largest announcement came from Volvo, which would double the size, output, and investment of its still-unfinished plant in South Carolina. In most cases, the announced spending plans were parts of multi-year commitments to spend billions of dollars to expand capacity and technical capabilities within the U.S.

Major announcement include:

  • Volvo Cars: $600 million. Volvo announced plans in 2015 to build a $500 million plant in Berkeley County, South Carolina, near Charleston, to build the S60 luxury sedan. More than doubling that investment will allow the automaker, owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, to add the popular XC90 SUV to the facility. S60 production is set to begin in late 2018, employing 2,000 people. XC90 production is set for 2021, when plant employment should reach 3,900. www.volvocars.com/us
  • Toyota: $373.8 million. Toyota plans to boost gas/electric hybrid output in North America by moving transaxle production to the U.S. from Japan, requiring upgrades to five plants. The company’s Buffalo, West Virginia, plant will receive upgrades to make the transaxles. An engine plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, and aluminum foundries in Troy, Missouri, and Jackson, Tennessee will receive upgrades to make a 2.5L engine that will be paired with the hybrid systems. The Jackson plant will also produce some transaxle components. And Toyota’s Huntsville, Alabama, plant will receive upgrades to support final engine builds. Combined, the expansions will create 50 new jobs. www.toyota.com
  • Honda: $267 million. Upgrades to the 2018 Accord sedan required Honda to add 342 welding robots to its Marysville, Ohio, plant and to increase production at the nearby Anna, Ohio, engine plant. The Marysville upgrades support laser brazing processes for the Accord’s roof, new stamping systems, and equipment for structural adhesives, Honda’s first use of that technology. Other investments will support the return to Ohio of a hybrid version of the Accord with a power unit that will be made in Marysville. The investments will add 300 jobs between the two plants. www.honda.com
  • General Motors. GM officials did not announce a specific cost to double the design studio at the company’s Warren, Michigan, technical center, but they did note that it was the final step in a $1 billion upgrade to that campus. Michael Simcoe, GM vice president of Global Design says, “We can only begin to predict how mobility will change in future generations. Investing in our creative and skilled team and providing them with inspiring, modern spaces, new technologies, and more ways to work together will foster innovation that leads to real solutions for customers.” www.gm.com