By Jerry Underwood
Made In Alabama

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller announced that Yongsan Automotive USA will invest more than $5.5 million to open a manufacturing facility in the city’s Fox Run Business Park that will employ 150 workers after three years.

Fuller’s announcement came during an Opelika City Council meeting Tuesday night when Yongsan’s plans for its first U.S. facility were outlined.

“I’m excited to welcome Yongsan to the Opelika community,” Fuller said. “We want businesses to grow and be successful here, and we are glad to support them. We look forward to building a long-term relationship with Yongsan’s leaders and its employees.”

Yongsan, a South Korean-based manufacturer of specialty interior parts, will lease an existing building on Jeter Avenue in the Fox Run Business Park. Its investment will pay for manufacturing equipment and building improvements at the site.

Yongsan is expected to begin operations at its new Alabama facility in mid-April.

“We welcome Yongsan to Alabama as a great addition to our vibrant auto industry, which continues to grow at a rapid pace in Opelika and other communities across the state,” Gov. Kay Ivey said.

“We know that Yongsan will find success in Alabama, and we are grateful they selected our state to create new jobs with this investment.”

Yongsan, a supplier to Hyundai Motor Manufacturing of Alabama, produces interior parts such as sun visors, seat parts and luggage trim. It is a leading manufacturer of sophisticated leather covering for interior trims for seats, arm and head rests, crash pads and sun visors.

Auto supplier Yongsan is expected to open its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Opelika in April. (contributed)

‘Critical mass’

Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said Yongsan’s arrival in Opelika coincides with a period of strong activity in the state’s auto supply chain. The sector comprises more than 200 companies that employ more than 25,000 workers.

“Alabama is ideally situated at the center of the growing Southeastern automotive cluster,” Canfield said. “As Alabama’s auto industry continues to build toward critical mass, Yongsan and other suppliers coming to the state will find skilled workers and the support they need to be successful.”

In recent days, auto suppliers Guyoung Tech and Arkal Automotive have announced expansions at their Alabama locations. Together, these expansions will create as many as 125 jobs.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.