This post originally appeared on MadeInAlabama.com.
AUBURN, Alabama – The Shinhwa Group, an automotive parts manufacturer, plans to establish a manufacturing operation in Auburn to serve the region’s vibrant auto sector, Governor Kay Ivey announced today.
“Shinhwa’s decision to invest $42 million and create 95 jobs in Auburn is great news for Alabama,” Governor Ivey said. “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 rapidly growing automotive cluster that produces around 1 million vehicles a year and provides an estimated 40,000 direct jobs at companies within the sector.
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 in South Korea.
“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.
Shinhwa plans 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,” said Duk Keun Oh, president of the newly founded entity 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 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, said 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.
Employment at parts manufacturers across Alabama has nearly doubled since 2009 to 25,800 in August 2019, according to data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank and the Alabama Department of Labor. The state is home to more than 150 suppliers, and the list is growing.
“Shinhwa is a welcome addition to Alabama’s network of high-caliber auto suppliers,” Secretary Canfield said. “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,” he added.