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From Site Selection magazine, May 2020

Hit Makers

top Deals

When it comes to economic impact, these projects make the Top 40.


Every year we track down from our team’s reporting and from the Conway Analytics Database the corporate facility investments with the most impact. With the assistance of Conway Director of Programming & Analytics Daniel Boyer in indexing combined capital investment and job creation figures, here are this year’s top 20 deals in North America and top 20 abroad.

Emerging themes? Well, it appears the “A”s have it, as in automobiles, automation, aerospace, aviation and yes, Amazon. But there are a few other trends as well — technology and life sciences innovation among them, not to mention the popular destinations of Texas, Michigan and North Carolina.


$250 million, 1,500 jobs

Pontiac Mayor Deirdre Waterman in September 2019 announced that the storied 127-acre site once home to the Detroit Lions and Detroit Pistons would be redeveloped into a regional distribution center for Amazon that will create more than 1,500 jobs and be the first site nationally for Amazon to have both a fulfillment center and delivery station. Atlanta-based Seefried Industrial Properties, which has constructed several facilities for Amazon across the country, will build two facilities that will be leased by the e-commerce giant.

At the junction of southeast Michigan's busiest highways — 1-75 and M59 — the site now is in the midst of major redevelopment including the demolition of the Palace of Auburn Hills slated and the Summit Place Mall property. The Silverdome was opened in 1975 and closed permanently in 2013. After two partial implosions, it was demolished in 2017 and cleared for redevelopment.

Cree, Inc. | Marcy, New York, and Durham, North Carolina

$1.5 billion, 1,000 jobs

After initially planning to make silicon carbide at a new billion-dollar factory in the Research Triangle in its home state, Durham-based Cree instead split its investment plans between Durham and a site in Marcy, New York, thanks to $500 million in incentives from New York, where the company will create around 600 jobs. Cree also is eligible for additional local incentives and abatements as well as equipment and tooling from SUNY. As a result, the company expects to realize a net capital savings of approximately $280 million on its initially announced $1 billion capacity expansion through 2024. In addition, the Marcy site will provide 25% increased output compared to the previously planned facility.

Durham will still net around 400 new jobs with a $500 million investment — and without the state giving any incentives. Cree leaders call its two-pronged strategy the beginnings of a “silicon carbide corridor” along the East Coast to meet increasing demand for the company’s Wolfspeed technology that supports the growing electric vehicle (EV), 4G/5G mobile and industrial markets.

Fiat Chrysler | Detroit and other cities, Michigan

$4.5 billion, 6,500 jobs

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in February 2019 confirmed plans to invest $4.5 billion in five of its existing Michigan plants, and to work with the city of Detroit and state of Michigan on building a new assembly plant within city limits. Continuing a U.S. manufacturing realignment that began in 2016, the move will increase capacity to meet growing demand for its Jeep and Ram brands, including production of two new Jeep branded white space products as well as electrified models.

Details include $1.6 billion to convert the two plants that comprise the Mack Avenue Engine Complex into the future assembly site for the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee as well as an all-new 3-row full-size Jeep SUV and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models, adding 3,850 new jobs. The Jefferson North Assembly Plant would receive an investment of $900 million to retool and modernize to build the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee, adding 1,100 new jobs. The Pentastar engines currently built at Mack I would be relocated to the Dundee Engine Plant as part of a $119 million investment. And investment at Warren Truck to retool for production of the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, announced in 2017, along with their electrified counterparts, will increase to $1.5 billion, with 1,400 new jobs. FCAs Warren Stamping and Sterling Stamping (in Sterling Heights) plants would receive investments of $245 million and $160 million, respectively, with Sterling Stamping expected to add more than 80 new jobs.

Ford Motor Co. | Flat Rock, Michigan

$850 million, 900 jobs

Tied to the company’s $11.1 billion investment in global electric vehicles, Ford is expanding its battery electric vehicle (BEV) manufacturing footprint to Flat Rock, which will become the production home to vehicles from the company’s next-generation battery electric flexible architecture. These vehicles will follow the all-electric performance SUV coming in 2020 from Ford’s Cuautitlan, Mexico, plant. “We’ve taken a fresh look at the growth rates of electrified vehicles and know we need to protect additional production capacity given our accelerated plans for fully electric vehicles,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president, Global Operations. 

As with Cree, what to make where has changed with the passage of time. After deciding to shift an electric crossover SUV to Mexico, Ford later decided to make EVs at Flat Rock, and shift some of the autonomous vehicle work done there to another, yet-to-be-named site in southeast Michigan.

General Motors/LG Chem | Lordstown, Ohio

$2.3 billion, 1,100 jobs

GM and South Korea’s LG Chem confirmed this investment in December 2019, as they aim to mass-produce batter cells for future BEVs on a greenfield site. “With this investment, Ohio and its highly capable workforce will play a key role in our journey toward a world with zero emissions,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “Combining our manufacturing expertise with LG Chem’s leading battery-cell technology will help accelerate our pursuit of an all-electric future.”

The JV’s announcement came less than a month after GM had sold its Lordstown assembly plant that once employed as many as 4,500. The plant was idled in early 2019 after 50 years of car assembly. Lordstown Motors Corp. will hire 400 workers to build the Endurance all-electric pickup truck there by late 2020.

Komatsu Mining Corp. | Milwaukee, Wisconsin

$285 million, 443 jobs

As reported by Ron Starner in the July 2019 issue of Site Selection, One of the world’s largest mining equipment manufacturers has struck gold in Wisconsin with a transformational investment in  a 2.5-million-sq.-ft. (232,250-sq.-m.) campus that will serve as the new corporate headquarters of Komatsu in the Milwaukee Harbor District. The $285 million project will provide a permanent home for more than 1,000 employees and become the anchor of a waterfront revitalization effort that will radically change the former Solvay Coke site on Greenfield Avenue, not far from the company’s original machine shop dating to the 1880s. Incentives include up to $59.5 million in state income tax credits over the next 12 years, as well as up to $40 million in additional tax breaks and other incentives from the city.

“This is a win for the city, the state, our employees, customers and the community,” said John Koetz, president of surface mining at Komatsu, at the project announcement. “We are preserving existing jobs, laying the groundwork for new employment opportunities, investing in the workforce of tomorrow, and helping attract talent to the area. Milwaukee is a great place for manufacturing. We are proud of our history here and excited to start building our future.”

Komatsu’s new manufacturing and headquarters campus in Harbor District.
Image courtesy of Komatsu

Lowe's, Charlotte | North Carolina

$153 million, 1,600 jobs

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s is locating a new global technology center in downtown Charlotte, where it will host 1,600 of some 2,000 new technology jobs at the company overall. “Locating our new facility in the heart of Charlotte, the state’s largest metropolitan area, will enable Lowe’s to attract top technology talent and foster collaboration with our teams in our nearby Mooresville headquarters,” Marvin R. Ellison, president and chief executive officer said of the town that was a perennial No. 1 micropolitan area for corporate investment projects in Site Selection before being subsumed by Greater Charlotte close to a decade ago.

Set to open in late 2021, the 357,000-sq.-ft facility will be located in the new 23-story Design Center Tower in a neighborhood immediately south of uptown Charlotte. Next to the Lynx Blue Line light rail, the Rail Trail, restaurants and available parking and housing, the new building will provide attractive amenities for the area’s top tech professionals, the company said. Incentives included a $54 million Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) and a $2 million grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

Merck | Durham and Wilson, North Carolina

$650 million, 400 jobs

Merck will build a new production facility at its Maurice R. Hilleman Center for Vaccine Manufacturing in Durham and expanding its packaging operations in Wilson. This substantial project will enable Merck to meet growing demand for GARDASIL and GARDASIL 9 recombinant human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. “Our Durham and Wilson plants are key strategic sites in the Merck global manufacturing network,” said Sanat Chattopadhyay, executive vice president, Merck, and president, Merck Manufacturing Division. “And the strong support of the state is critical for the success of businesses such as ours.”

That support includes a nearly $5 million JDIG incentive from the state. “The life science industry cluster in North Carolina enjoys a well-earned reputation as one of the nation’s leading centers for biotech innovation,” said North Carolina Commerce Secretary Anthony M. Copeland.  “Merck’s long experience in our state gave them the confidence to bring this important new operation to North Carolina.”

Northrop Grumman | Palmdale and other locations, California

$1.1 billion, 1,001 jobs

Among the projects approved for sales tax benefits on equipment purchases by California State Treasurer Fiona Ma in April 2019 was up to $17.7 million in sales tax exclusions to Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. on the purchase of up to $211.9 million in equipment that will be used to expand and upgrade its existing aerospace manufacturing facility in Palmdale. The facility makes a variety of aircraft systems, including the F-35 Lightning II fuselage, the Trion and EuroHawk. The project is anticipated to support 4,417 production-related jobs and 469 construction jobs.

Palmdale is where Northrop Grumman has chosen to assemble the B-21 stealth bomber, scheduled to make its first flight in 2021. As reported in Air Force magazine, The company has grown from about 25,000 to 28,000 employees in California alone since 2015 and continues to hire.

Nucor | Brandenburg, Kentucky

$1.35 billion, 400 jobs

The Charlotte-based steelmaker in March 2019 announced that it will build a steel plate mill in Brandenburg, located along the Ohio River southwest of Louisville. The mill will be capable of producing 1.2 million tons per year of steel plate products. The plate mill will employ more than 400 at an average annual salary of $72,000, and is expected to be fully operational in 2022, pending permit and regulatory approvals. "Kentucky is an excellent location for this mill, right in the center of America's largest plate consuming region," said John Ferriola, chairman, CEO & president of Nucor Corporation. "Our acquisition of the Gallatin sheet mill in Ghent, Kentucky, five years ago has been a tremendous success, and we are pleased to add a second mill in the state."

A project to increase Gallatin's hot rolled coil capacity at expanded widths of up to 73 inches is expected to come online during 2021. The new plate mill and the projects at Nucor Steel Gallatin represent more than $2 billion in investments in the state of Kentucky.

Pepsico | Guanajuato, Mexico

$109 million, 1,000 jobs

In May 2019, the PepsiCo México System, made up of PepsiCo Alimentos México and its strategic partner Grupo Gepp announced an overall investment plan in 2019-2020 that will create 3,000 new jobs overall, one-third of them at the company’s first new plant in 20 years, in Guanajuato. "We are proud of our more than 110 years of history in Mexico and we are excited by the next 100,” said Ramón Laguarta, chairman of the Board and CEO of PepsiCo Inc.

More than $1 billion will be invested in local raw materials, such as potatoes, corn and sugar from small, medium and large producers. The company plans to renovate its Agricultural Development Center (CDAS) to ensure the supply of high-quality potato seeds for the long-term growth of the business. The PepsiCo Mexico System plans to invest more than $ 7 million in development programs focused on water, recycling, nutrition and the empowerment of women. "Mexico's competitiveness is key to PepsiCo's success,” saidRoberto Martínez, president of PepsiCo Alimentos México, “and our goal is to ensure that our success is also that of Mexico.”

Ross Stores | Brookshire, Texas

$150 million, 1,300 jobs

Not many operations outdo Amazon in size, but off-price apparel and home fashion Ross Stores, Inc.’s new 2-million-sq.-ft. distribution center, located a mile from I-10 at Twinwoods Business Park in Waller County, does. As it happens, Amazon opened a facility half that size in the county in 2018. Both deals were negotiated by the Waller County Economic Development Partnership, with a big assist from the Waller County Road Improvement District #1.

“We couldn’t have done it without their support for incentives and for literally paving the way for new roads in the area,” Waller County Judge Trey Duhon told Covering Katy News. The Partnership, meanwhile, approved a 40% tax reduction on the new building and a 20% tax reduction on equipment in the center, which is scheduled to open in 2021. 

Ryan LLC | Plano, Texas

$338 million, 550 jobs

The $3 billion Legacy West development that started in 2014 has nearly been completed several years earlier than the decade that developer Fehmi Karnahan thought it would take. The latest big corporate tenant is tax services firm Ryan LLC, which will move its HQ from Dallas and occupy around 200,000 sq. ft., not far from major offices from JPMorgan Chase and Liberty Mutual.

Business tax specialist Ryan continues to grow globally, recently adding a new office in Hyderabad, India. The 2,800-employee firm is the 17th largest private company by revenue in north Texas.

SmileDirectClub | Nashville, Tennessee

$217 million, 2,010 jobs

With a new headquarters and facilities in Middle Tennessee, SmileDirectClub, a pioneer of doctor-directed, remote invisible aligner therapy, will create 2,010 new jobs in Nashville and Antioch over the next five years. It’s the second expansion in Middle Tennessee in two years, following a $4.5 million expansion across two Davidson County locations, which supported the creation of nearly 450 new jobs. Currently, SmileDirectClub employs more than 1,600 people in the Nashville area, out of 4,300 overall.

“SmileDirectClub is a tremendous home-grown success story and evidence of the creative economy in Nashville,” said Nashville Mayor David Briley. “I am particularly excited about the SmileDirectClub’s proposed growth in Antioch, a part of our city with enormous potential for all kinds of businesses.”

Steel Dynamics | Sinton, Texas

$1.9 billion, 600 jobs

Fort Bend, Indiana–based Steel Dynamics, Inc. picked Sinton — located approximately 30 miles Northwest of the port of Corpus Christi — for a new electric-arc-furnace (EAF) flat roll steel mill. “Sinton is strategically located within the targeted Southwest U.S. and Mexico market regions, bringing numerous competitive customer and raw material advantages to the project,” the company stated. Among those advantages: proximity to four-state, Western U.S. and Mexican markets representing approximately 27 million tons of relevant flat roll steel consumption; acreage to allow customers to locate on-site; proximity to prime ferrous scrap generation via the four-state Texas region and Mexico; and cost-effective access to pig iron through the deepwater port of Corpus Christi.

The mill will be the world's largest thin-slab facility, with a unique configuration and the capability to produce Advanced High Strength Steel grades, including some energy sector products not available in the U.S. today. "Our customers are eager for us to begin, as we have been discussing plans for several of them to co-locate onsite with us," said Mark D. Millett, president and CEO. "We believe a majority of the customer base will experience a significant freight savings compared to their current supply-chain configurations.”

Tyson Fresh Meats | Eagle Mountain City, Utah

$300 million, 800 jobs

Company officials broke ground in October 2019 for the Tyson’s new case ready beef and pork facility in the city’s Pole Canyon development. The payroll is expected to expand to 1,200 three years after the plant’s opening. It is anticipated the project will have more than a $1 billion economic impact in the first ten years due to construction of the facility, salaries, taxable sales, and other investments in the local economy. The plant will be a case ready meat-cutting and packaging operation that converts fresh beef and pork, brought in from other locations, into steaks, chops, roasts and ground beef that are placed in trays, weighed and labeled, and then shipped to retailers for sale in grocery store meat cases. The company operates similar plants in Iowa, Texas and Tennessee.

UPS | Louisville, Kentucky

$750 million, 1,000 jobs

In response to growth in Next Day Air volume and increased demand for faster delivery worldwide, UPS anticipates a series of construction projects around Worldport over the next 15 years, beginning with a new $220 million, 262,000-sq.-ft. hangar to accommodate line maintenance on its growing air fleet. The company is in the process of adding nearly 50 new, converted and leased 747-8s and 767s by 2022. “What started as a strategic investment by UPS 30 years ago has grown into a worldwide asset for the company and the city of Louisville,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “UPS’ continued investments in our city have created opportunity throughout our economy and across specialized logistics sectors like high-tech, biomedical and rapid prototyping.”

Pilots, aircraft mechanics, and support staff will be among the 1,000 high-paying professional jobs the projects will create, allowing UPS to pursue up to $40 million in tax incentives from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.

A new hangar is the latest investment by UPS at it WorldPort complex in Louisville, Kentucky.
Image courtesy of UPS

Volkswagen of America | Chattanooga, Tennessee

$800 million, 1,000 jobs

Volkswagen of America in November 2019 started construction for its electric vehicle production facility. The site, where production begins in 2022, will be Volkswagen's North American assembly base for EVs. “Expanding local production sets the foundation for our sustainable growth in the U.S.,” said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. “Electric vehicles are the future of mobility and Volkswagen will build them for millions, not just millionaires."

 VW is coordinating the rollout of EVs from the site with EV production also ramping up at other sites in Germany and China. The expansion of the plant includes a 564,000-sq.-ft. addition to the body shop, and a 198,000-sq.-ft. plant for the assembly of battery packs. Volkswagen currently builds the midsize Atlas SUV and the Passat sedan at the Chattanooga factory. A five-seat version of the Atlas, the Atlas Cross Sport, began production in Chattanooga in October.

Volkswagen of America’s expansion in Chattanooga is part of a global rollout of electric vehicle manufacturing.
Image courtesy of Volkswagen

Wegmans Food Markets | Ashland, Virginia

$175 million, 700 jobs

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced in December that Wegmans will establish a full-service, regional distribution operation in Hanover County, beating out North Carolina for the project. The news followed a recent domestic marketing mission where Northam met with Wegmans real estate and development officials at the company’s headquarters in Rochester, New York. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) worked with Hanover County and the Greater Richmond Partnership to secure the project, with incentives including a $2.35 million grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund and eligibility to receive a Major Business Facilities Job Tax Credit for new, full-time jobs created.

“This site has the right combination of everything we were looking for in terms of proximity to our stores and workforce and is located in a Commonwealth that we have partnered with for many years,” said Wegmans President and CEO Colleen Wegman. “Once it’s up and running, this facility will allow us to deliver products to our southern-most stores with increased speed and freshness and will help support our growth well into the future.”

Y-TEC Keylex Toyotetsu Alabama | Huntsville, Alabama

$220 million, 650 jobs

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey joined executives from this auto supplier last May to announce this project, located on the site of the $1.6 billion Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A. (MTMUS) auto assembly plant under construction in the Limestone County portion of Huntsville. The three-company JV will produce structural body stampings and assemblies, as well as functional and chassis parts, for MTMUS at the new plant, being constructed by Gray Construction.

YKTA was the second supplier to announce plans for a facility on the 2,500-acre MTMUS site, joining DaikyoNishikawa US (DNUS), which will produce large plastic parts such as bumpers and instrumental panels at a $110 million facility staffed with 380 workers. 

“We’re very committed to facilitating the formation of the supply chain for Mazda Toyota Manufacturing U.S.A., and the YKT Alabama joint venture facility is an important piece in the supplier puzzle,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “I am confident that we can deliver a first-class workforce for YKT Alabama and look forward to helping ensure the company has a smooth path to production.”


ABB, Egglesberg | Upper Austria, Austria

$112 million, 1,000 jobs

After announcing its acquisition of B&R (Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik GmbH), ABB committed to invest €100 million in an innovation and training campus at B&R’s HQ in Eggelsberg, Upper Austria, calling it “the largest organic investment in industrial automation in ABB’s more than 130-year history.” As part of the company’s “Next Level” innovation strategy, the campus will develop technologies for the factory of the future, based on ABB Ability, in which production will be undertaken autonomously by smart and cloud-connected machines and robots.

The company invests $1.4 billion in R&D annually, and has a team of around 30,000 R&D and application engineers. B&R has more than 1,000 employees working in R&D and application development. The new 35,000-sq.-m. (376,750-sq.-ft.) R&D campus also will feature an Automation Academy to train and educate customers, partners and employees in these technologies. “This is the starting signal for a location offensive in the key segment of digital industry,” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. “It is an important impulse for the creation of highly qualified new jobs and the positioning of Austria as a high-tech location.” | San José, Costa Rica

$86 million, 2,000 jobs

While this sort of job creation number usually is associated with Amazon fulfillment centers, this June 2019 announcement involves filling roles in areas such as customer service, technology, cloud services, finance and accounting. The positions will support service in the Americas, Europe and Asia, and do so in English, Portuguese, Italian, French and Mandarin. Amazon is the country’s largest services employer, with more than 7,500 employees before these new additions and 600 of those working virtually from their homes. The company started in Costa Rica in 2008 with 75 employees.

“We are excited to be continuing to invest in Costa Rica and creating thousands of new roles,” said Tom Weiland, Amazon vice president of Worldwide Customer Service.

Avanze Inventive | Sri City (Chennai), Andrha Pradesh, India

$256 million, 900 jobs

Ojovati | Sri City (Chennai), Andrha Pradesh, India

$260 million, 700 jobs

These two investments are part of a wave of battery manufacturers in the state. Following the pledge to build a lithium-ion cell manufacturing plant from Singapore-based Ojovati, Avanze, based in Delhi, followed with its own agreement with the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board to build a lithium-ion battery plant. PV magazine notes the projects mesh well with yet another forthcoming investment by New Delhi-based Urja Global in a plant for both li-ion batteries and electric vehicles.

The Indian government recently doubled the import duty on li-ion cells to 10% as of April 2021. It’s part of a phased manufacturing support program to support the entire electric vehicle industrial ecosystem.

Avgol | Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh, India

$169 million, 2,000 jobs

Through an agreement with the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation (MPSIDC), this Israeli non-woven fabrics manufacturer announced in October it will build a new plant in what The Free Press Journal called “the flagship industrial town of the State.” The new facility will add to an Avgol global portfolio that includes sites in Israel, the U.S., China and Russia. The company, which makes products for the diaper, adult incontinence and feminine hygiene markets, until now has collaborated with Procter & Gamble at a site in Mandideep in Bhopal, but will go it alone with the new plant on 10 acres. Other investors in Pithampur include China’s Liugong and Bridgestone.

BioChem USA | Dahej (Bharuch), Gujarat, India

$451 million, 2,000 jobs

The U.S. manufacturer will establish a bio-refinery to produce fuel ethanol as well as protein feed for animals from plant-based raw materials, primarily corn. The company is also establishing an ethanol-to-ethylene plant in Koyali. The refinery is expected to start production in March 2021. Gujarat Industries and Mines Department Principal Secretary M.K Das said, “India requires a large amount of bio-fuels and this project will help the country reduce import dependency. The bio-refinery will not only generate new jobs but also help the farmers who can sell cash crops to the refinery.”

Brose | Pančevo, Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Serbia

$199 million, 1,100 jobs

The German parts manufacturer will build a new factory for electric motors for controllers in this region of northern Serbia while also investing in a new R&D center there. Pančevo will be the home of a production site for electric motors and drives as part of a first stage of expansion to be completed by 2021. The start of production of drives for cooling fan modules is set for summer 2021, followed by motors for steering systems and oil pumps.

“We are systematically expanding our global development and production capacities with the new Brose plant in Serbia,” said Thomas Spangler, chief technology officer for Brose Group, at the October 2019 signing ceremony. “The support has been excellent thus far and marked by quick actions, constructive discussions and pragmatic solutions,” “I am convinced that this new Brose location will offer good, long-term prospects for our family-owned company and our future employees here in Serbia.”

Citic Dicastal | Kenitra, Morocco

$386 million, 1,200 jobs

The Chinese aluminum alloy parts maker inaugurated its new 30,000-sq.-m. (322,930-sq.-ft.) wheel parts plant in Kenitra in November, just months after inaugurating another plant there in June. Morocco Minister of Trade and Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy called the projects a manifestation of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative.

The company operates 30 plants in Europe, North America and China, serving a number of global automotive OEMs with annual production capacity of 60 million wheels and 110,000 tons of engine and chassis components. According to Morocco World News and Maghreb Arab Press, Dicastal Morocco Africa General Manager Badr Lahmoudi said the group “aims to consolidate its achievements and implement a human development strategy, in close collaboration with teams in China, to support Moroccan talents and skills.”

Clarebout | Frameries, Wallonia, Belgium

$340 million, 300 jobs

After a separate investment in Waasten in Hainaut, the potato processor announced a plan to invest in Frameries, where the company had maintained a storage facility since 2016. It will be Clarebout’s third production location — it also has a plant in Nieuwkerke in southwest Flanders. The company said the Frameries region is favored because of “the presence of cultivators who would like to grow potatoes, or who would like to convert to this type of cultivation; good soil type for potatoes and very good climatic conditions.”

Edwards Lifesciences | Limerick, Ireland

$181 million, 600 jobs

After initially committing to half this amount, California-based Edwards in April 2019 announced plans to increase its investment with the construction of a new and larger medical technology plant in Castletroy, Limerick, to support Edwards’ global supply network for heart valve therapies. “The development of the Limerick City region is a major part of Project Ireland 2040,” said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. “We are planning for the city to grow by 50% over the next two decades through enhanced regional accessibility, improved international connectivity and a competitive, educated workforce.”

Edwards established operations in Ireland in 2018, and employs 50 people at a facility in the Shannon Freezone. The additional investment around its new facility includes the purchase of additional land, the construction of a larger facility to allow for possible future expansion and the integration of upgraded technology. “Since we established operations in Ireland last year, we have appreciation for the excellent business environment to help develop our operations,” said Michael Mussallem, Edwards’ chairman and CEO.

Farasis Energy Europe | Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany

$670 million, 600 jobs

California-based Farasis is building a battery cell, module and pack production facility in the administrative district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld via its new German subsidiary. Beginning at the end of 2022, the production capacity is to be expanded annually from an initial six to 10 gigawatt hours (GWh) purely for electric vehicles,” reported

Farasis has two plants in China and R&D centers in the U.S. and China. Europe was next. “We focused on four main groups of decision-making criteria. Of particular importance for us were the topics of location quality and environmental protection,” Dr. Maik Cordes, head of business development at Farasis Energy Europe, told Automotive Purchasing & Supply Chain last May. “After a long and intensive assessment of several dozen locations throughout Europe, we are now convinced that Bitterfeld-Wolfen in Saxony-Anhalt offers the best overall package for the sustainable production of Li-ion batteries for Farasis’s first European production site,” said Sebastian Wolf, the company’s managing director.

Ford Motor Co. | Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa

$211 million, 1,200 jobs

An investment program originally launched in 2017 enabled Ford to add a third shift in August 2019 at its Silverton plant in order to meet international and local demand for the New Ranger, Ranger Raptor and Everest models. The company’s move takes its employment in South Africa to around 5,500 and stokes what the company said would be around 10,000 jobs among suppliers. Around two-thirds of the plants production is exported. Ford also supports two global diesel engine operations at its Struandale Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth.

In November, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the site to launch the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone, an automotive component supplier industrial park adjacent to the Silverton plant and one of 10 SEZs in the country. “The launch of the Tshwane Automotive SEZ is a milestone achievement following five years of engagement between Ford Motor Company and government, specifically the Department of Trade and Industry," said Neale Hill, managing director of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “The government's new region-based model for special economic zones is an important new tool to attract domestic and international investment, which will help businesses to become more competitive on a global scale.”

Homanit | Vilnius, Lithuania

$131 million, 440 jobs

“Lithuania, as well as Poland, are major suppliers for IKEA. In the next two years, the Lithuanian furniture cluster expects new investments of over €300 million,” said Andrius Ostrauskas, CEO of German fiberboard manufacturer Homanit Lietuva, which also operates plants in Saarland, Germany; and in Karlino and Krosno, Poland. “Transport costs from Poland have been taking their toll on the bottom line of the manufacturers, and our strategically placed new plant will solve this issue.”

“The Lithuanian furniture industry is quickly automating its processes, which gives us a glimpse of what the plants of the future will look like – they will employ fewer people but with higher qualifications,” said Lithuanian Minister of Economy and Innovation Virginijus Sinkevičius. The new Homanit plant will not only ensure a faster supply of materials to the Lithuanian furniture cluster but will also employ specialists who will gain the required knowledge and skills about ways to automate production.”

Katerra | Hyderabad, Telangana, India

$100 million, 1,000 jobs

Indian construction company Katerra will double its capacity to 20 million sq. ft. of building components, with 40% of that coming from robotic assembly line production. A vocational training center will also be established to upskill the workforce. According to Economic Times Realty, the factory on a 50-acre site was to be ready in spring 2020. It’s the company’s second manufacturing facility, joining a site in Krishnagiri in Tamil Nadu. In the next three years, Katerra plans to also expand into the National Capital Region (NCR) and the Mumbai-Pune region.

Maruti Ispat & Energy | Kurnool, Andrha Pradesh, India

$177 million, 1,180 jobs

This project agreement was one of 14 signed on one day with the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB). The company, based in Secunderabad, Telangana (part of the Hyderabad metro area), will establish a steel and alloy manufacturing unit on 200 acres located around four hours to the south in the neighboring state, in Rassamamani village, Mantralayam mandal.

Nissan | Rosslyn (Pretoria), Gauteng, South Africa

$212 million, 400 jobs

Nissan’s investment was to prepare the plant for production of the next-generation Nissan Navara pickup. The investment will create around 1,200 new jobs when the entire local supply chain is factored in. "Africa is an essential part of Nissan's M.O.V.E. to 2022 midterm plan in which we aim to double our presence across the Africa, Middle East and India region,” said Peyman Kargar, Nissan's Africa, Middle East and India chairman, noting two other plants in Africa as well as a forthcoming plant in Algeria. The company also noted workforce development support through the government's Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP). “Today's announcement highlights the continuing evolution of Africa as one of the most important global markets,” said Kargar. “In South Africa, this is supported by the government's creation of a stable environment for long-term investment."

To date, Nissan together with the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) has incubated eight new component manufacturers and related companies from its Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment startup program, and has identified 15 more that it will support in step with its preparations for the new Navara. The auto sector accounts for 7% of South African GDP and a third of its manufacturing output.

Nissan South Africa
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa (pictured) said in April 2019 that Nissan’s decision to produce its Navara in South Africa with a 400-job, $212-million investment in Rosslyn (Pretoria), Gauteng, was further proof of the increasing contribution of the automotive industry to the country.
Photo courtesy of Nissan Motor Corp.

Tianxi Tire | Huludao, Liaoning Province, China

$210 million, 632 jobs

This new rubber products company based in Liaoning broke ground in April 2019 on a heavy-duty truck and bus tire plant in Huludao's Xingcheng Binhai Economic Zone in the eastern Chinese province. The 1.8 million-sq.-ft. plant, expected to come online this spring in the coastal city of 2.7 million, will have annual capacity of 1.2 million units, and is expected to generate $235 million of annual sales when fully operational. According to published reports, around 40% of production will be self-healing tires using Tianxi’s automatic spray coating technology.

Toyo Tire | Indija, Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Serbia

$436 million, 500 jobs

Following approval by its board of directors last July to build a passenger and light truck tire plant in Europe, Toyo picked a 150-acre site just northwest of Belgrade where it will produce 5 million units a year at full capacity. Groundbreaking for the company’s eighth plant globally was scheduled for this spring, with production to launch in January 2022. Until now, European and Russian markets were served by Toyo facilities in Japan and Malaysia. Now the Serbian plant will fulfill those needs, though the announcement also said the company plans “to supply differentiated and highly added value products for luxury passenger vehicles and light trucks within and outside the European market.”

Valeo | Tangier, Morocco

$146 million, 1,000 jobs

At the May 2019 inauguration of this new 137,000-sq.-m. (nearly 1.5 million-sq.-ft.) plant, Morocco’s Minister of Industry Moulay Hafid Elalamy said the Valeo ecosystem had not only created its own jobs, but supported the establishment of five supplier plants. The new facility will make thermal systems including ventilation systems and engine cooling systems, joining another plant on site that has made lighting and wiper systems since 2017.

According to Morocco World News, Valeo CEO Jacques Aschenbroich said the Tangier site is one of the “few industrial centers belonging to the group that started with a 100% local labor force.” Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Tangier Med Special Agency Fouad Brini added that 15 new industrial units are being built in Tanger Automotive City on a total area of 300,000 sq. m. to create 4,300 jobs. Between 2014 and 2018, the auto sector created 116,611 jobs, representing 28.8% of all new jobs.

WuXi Biologics | Dundalk, Ireland

$368 million, 400 jobs

Representing one of the world’s largest facilities using single-use bioreactors, this “Facility of the Future” commenced construction in February 2019 and completed the weather-tight seal of its main facility in December 2019, on an Ireland Industrial Development Authority (IDA) greenfield site in Mullagharlin, Dundalk, County Louth. “We are proud of achieving this great milestone 10 months after initiating the facility construction of our first global site in Europe, which is another testament of ‘WuXi Bio Speed’ implemented outside of China for the first time. Construction of our U.S. facility will also begin soon as well.” said Dr. Chris Chen, CEO of WuXi Biologics.

Late in the year, WuXi committed to a separate $240 million vaccine contract manufacturing facility at the campus that will create 200 more jobs.

Adam Bruns
Editor in Chief of Site Selection magazine

Adam Bruns

Adam Bruns is editor in chief and head of publications for Site Selection, and before that has served as managing editor beginning in February 2002. In the course of reporting hundreds of stories for Site Selection, Adam has visited companies and communities around the globe. A St. Louis native who grew up in the Kansas City suburbs, Adam is a 1986 alumnus of Knox College, and resided in Chicago; Midcoast Maine; Savannah, Georgia; and Lexington, Kentucky, before settling in the Greater Atlanta community of Peachtree Corners, where he lives with his wife and daughter.


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