Alabama’s auto manufacturing sector has expanded dramatically as business has grown for the state’s three assembly plants. In 2015, Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai combined to produce more than 1 million vehicles, meaning their output has more than doubled since 2009. Surging productivity, along with new models introduced to their production line-ups, has triggered growth in their supply chains as well. Employment at auto parts makers in Alabama stood at just over 12,000 back in June 2009. Today, that figure is approaching 26,000 – with more jobs on the way. The number of auto parts facilities, currently more than 145, is also on the rise across Alabama, thanks to a flurry of significant new projects that launched in fall 2015. These include:
- Kamtek, which makes stamped parts for Mercedes and other automakers, announced plans for a $530 million expansion at its facility in Jefferson County, adding 350 jobs. As part of the project, Kamtek will construct an aluminum casting line to produce lightweight components. By 2019, Kamtek expects to have 1,276 workers in Jefferson County, up from 293 in 2009.
- Mercedes supplier Samvardhana Motherson Group announced plans to open a $150 million manufacturing facility in Tuscaloosa County, eventually creating 650 jobs. The 700,000-square foot SMP Automotive Systems Alabama facility will produce a variety of interior and exterior components for the nearby Mercedes plant.
- Japan-based Yorozu plans to invest more than $100 million to build an advanced metal stamping facility in the Jasper Industrial Park, creating 300 jobs. Production of suspension parts is expected to begin at the Walker County facility in 2017.
A tally shows that Mercedes has around 45 suppliers in Alabama, while Honda has 50 and Hyundai about 60. Many Alabama parts makers supply assembly facilities in other states. Nearly 40 Alabama parts facilities supply Hyundai affiliate Kia’s assembly plant just across the state line in West Point, Georgia. A few Alabama parts plants supply the Volkswagen plant in Tennessee and the Toyota plant in Mississippi.