Week of April 7, 2003
  Project Watch
Ned R. McWherter West Tennessee Cultural Arts Center in Jackson, Tenn.
Toyota has corporate links in Jackson (pictured). ARJ Manufacturing and TBDN Tennessee, both parts of the corporate umbrella of Toyota Boshuku Corp., the automaker's parent, have operations in the West Tennessee city. (Pictured: the Ned R. McWherter West Tennessee Cultural Arts Center in Jackson.)
Toyota Sites 200-Worker Parts Plant on Same Tenn. Tract That Just Missed on Assembly Plant

by JACK LYNE, Site Selection Executive Editor of Interactive Publishing

JACKSON, Tenn. – Sometimes, second place ain't bad at all. Finishing as a prominent also-ran, in fact, can be just the ticket to get the site-selection juices running at a fine and fortuitous clip.
        That's just the case for Jackson, Tenn., with Toyota. The West Tennessee city recently came close with the Japanese automaker, but it was no cigar, as Toyota's US$800-million, 2,000-worker assembly plant went to San Antonio, Texas. (For further details, see Feb. 10's Blockbuster Deal of the Week, "Toyota Picks Texas for 2,000-Employee, $800M Assembly Plant.") The Jackson site, along with locations in Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi, was prominently mentioned as a major contender for the project.
        Faint consolation, it might've seemed. Jackson, however, has reaped a pretty darned healthy-sized consolation prize: Coming only some five weeks after the Texas decision, Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America subsidiary Bodine Aluminum has announced that it's bringing a 200-employee, $124-million plant to the city. And the production operation will be located on a 200-acre (80-hectare) site that's part of the same 900-acre (360-hectare) tract that was a near-miss for Toyota's assembly plant.
        The Bodine plant in Jackson will be a die-casting operation that will make aluminum engine blocks, said Dennis Cuneo, senior vice president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America.

Site By Far Largest in Bodine's Portfolio
The Tennessee plant will be Bodine's third production facility. It also marks the first time that the company has ventured outside the St. Louis area, where the enterprise was founded in 1912. Toyota acquired Bodine as a subsidiary in 1990.
Sen. Lamar Alexander
"These Toyota jobs are the best kind of good-paying new jobs for Jackson and West Tennessee," said Sen. Lamar Alexander (pictured).

        "These Toyota jobs are the best kind of good-paying new jobs for Jackson and West Tennessee," U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) said at the project announcement. "Tennessee is becoming the geographical center of the American automobile industry. Since 1983, 900 new auto parts suppliers with 150,000 new jobs have helped raise Tennesseans' family incomes."
        Bodine's new plant should bolster incomes in the area around Jackson, a city of some 100,000 residents 125 miles (200 kilometers) west of Nashville. The 900 current Bodine employees earn $50,000 a year on average, according to the company.
        "We already have a significant impact in Tennessee through our suppliers, dealerships and existing Toyota operations," Cuneo said. "As Toyota grows its manufacturing operations in North America, this Bodine plant will be a vital element in our expanding engine assembly network."
        The size of the Jackson site - by far the largest in Bodine's portfolio - bodes well for further expansion. Of the company's two existing plants, one in St. Louis sits on 12 acres (five hectares), while the other, in Troy, Mo., is located on a site spanning 80 acres (32 hectares).

Scenario Mirrors Tennessee's
Earlier Also-Ran Toyota Experience
Jackson's winning-after-losing experience with Toyota has a state precedent. In the mid-1980s, the East Tennessee city of Maryville lost out after being a major contender for a Toyota assembly plant that went instead to Georgetown, Ky.
        Maryville's site-selection fortunes, however, also took a sharp turn for greener pastures. Nippondenso, a company in which Toyota is a major stakeholder, soon after picked the city for a $200-million, 550-worker plant that opened in 1988.
        State officials can only hope that the Bodine plant in Jackson follows a similar expansion curve. Denso Manufacturing Tennessee - as Nippondenso later came to be known - now employs more than 2,500 workers in the Volunteer State's eastern region.
        The Bodine plant will be built in the 796-acre (318-hectare) Jack Lawrence Airport Industrial Park, which is owned by Madison County. The operation will go online in 2005, company officials said.

Asheville, N.C.
America DataMed's 100-employee center picked Asheville (pictured) at a fortuitous time for local recruiters. The decision came only a few weeks after J. Crew announced that it was shutting down its 150-employee local-area call center.
America DataMed Picks North Carolina for National Customer Service Center

by JACK LYNE, Site Selection Executive Editor of Interactive Publishing

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Quality, accessible labor was the linchpin in America DataMed's decision to pick Asheville, N.C., for the company's new 100-employee national customer service center. America DataMed, which specializes in electronic record retrieval, selected the West North Carolina city after a site search that focused on the southeastern United States, company officials said.
        "We chose Asheville over other cities in the Southeast because of the availability and quality of the area's work force," President and CEO Robb Howard explained in announcing America DataMed's location choice.
        Nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smokey Mountains, Asheville also offered a site that provides America DataMed with space in which it can get its new operation rapidly up and running. The Newport Beach, Calif.-based company selected an existing facility in Biltmore Park in southern Asheville.
        The customer service center - which will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year - will go line with operations as early as late April, company officials said. Asheville employees will assist America DataMed customers with electronically obtaining, cataloging and storing their records. The operation will build up to the 100-employee level over the next 24 months, company officials explained.

Decision Comes Only Weeks after
J. Crew Announced Local Shutdown
"We were also impressed with the proactive approach that was taken to recruit us here," Howard added.
        The urgency of local recruiting efforts acquired an extra edge in mid-March, when J. Crew announced that it was shutting down its 150-employee Asheville-area call center on May 15. (J. Crew's local 260,000-sq.-ft. (23,400 sq. m.) distribution center, however, will remain open, the company said.)
        Ironically, online activity - the stuff of America DataMed's business lifeblood - triggered J. Crew's decision to close its center in Avery's Creek. Increased online orders had severely reduced the Asheville-area call center's volume, J. Crew officials explained.
        But J. Crew's shutdown presents "a great opportunity for some of those laid-off workers," said David Young, chairman of the Buncombe Economic Development Commission. Landing America DataMed's center was "a team effort that included the city of Asheville, Buncombe County, the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College," he added.
        Founded in 1989, America DataMed has found a ready market for online document storage, particularly in storing educational, legal, medical and personnel records. Customers can view their records in a variety of formats, including on CD-ROM or diskette or directly online.

350-Worker Ontario Operation Will Be Brose's First Canadian Plant

London, Ontario, Canada
Brose picked London, Ont. (pictured), a city of some 350,000 residents that sits in the heart of Canada's auto industry.
by JACK LYNE, Site Selection Executive Editor of Interactive Publishing

LONDON, Ont., Canada – Rapidly expanding German-based auto supplier Brose has decided for the first time to stick a toe of its manufacturing footprint into the Canadian market: Brose North America has announced that it's picked a site in London, Ont., for a 400,000-sq.-ft. (36,000-sq.-m.), 350-employee plant that will manufacture seat adjusters and door components.
        The decision comes after a search that spanned more than a year and a half, explained Brose North America President Jan Kowal. Southwest Ontario was squarely the focus of the site search, he said.
        London, which is located 115 miles (184 kilometers) southwest of Toronto, sits in the heart of Canada's substantial auto-industry presence. Ontario is home to more than 97 percent of the nation's automotive production, with the province's southwest region ranking as the cluster's epicenter. More than 60 auto parts suppliers, for example, are located within 38 miles (60 kilometers) of London.

Brose Had 'Never Heard' of London
Early on in the site search, though, the city didn't even remotely figure among the prominent contenders.
        "They had never heard of London, Ont., and didn't know what we had to offer," said Lesley Cornelius, director of marketing and communications for the London Economic Development Corp. (LEDC). "We learned that Brose was looking at expanding in North America, and we made them aware of London."
        The LEDC, in fact, spent more than 18 months in building Brose's London knowledge base while it pursued the project, Brose officials said.
Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco
London won the Brose project against "very tough competition throughout southwestern Ontario," said Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco (pictured).

        Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco praised the LEDC and city staffers for aggressively going after the project against what she called "very tough competition throughout southwestern Ontario." Brose didn't name any of the other contending sites.

City-Owned Site Key Factor
The London plant will be the fourth North American production facility for the Auburn Hills, Mich.-based subsidiary of Coburg, Germany-based Brose Fahrzeugteile GmbH & Co. Brose North America has two plants in Mexico. A third, which will produce door systems for Ford, is now under construction in Chicago, with production scheduled to begin in 2004.
        Brose will build its first Canadian plant on a 33-acre (13-hectare) site in Forest City Industrial Park. First-phase construction will begin in June, Kowal said. The city owns the park, which was a key factor in landing the project, local officials said.
        "There's not a chance we'd get this factory if we didn't have serviced land," said Lindsey Elwood, who chairs the London Downtown Business Association. "It's an absolute necessity if you're going to attract this type of business."

Employment Could Expand to 700 Workers
within Five Years, Mayor Says
"We are excited and proud to bring our resources and commerce to the London community and look forward to a long-term relationship," Kowal said at the project announcement.
        That long-term relationship, however, could produce appreciable job increases in the short term. Phase one of the Brose North America's London operation will go online in 2005 in some 180,000 sq. ft. (16,000 sq. m.) of manufacturing space with 350 workers, Kowal explained. Within five years, Brose's local work force could expand to 700 to fill the structure's entire 400,000 sq. ft., he said.
        The London plant will be the latest sally in Brose's rapid global expansion. Last year, the company began building new plants in Bratislava, Slovakia, and Gent, Belgium, as well as in Chicago.
        In addition, Brose last year announced a new headquarters that's now being built in Auburn Hills, where the company first opened North American operations in 1993. Ontario was the other finalist for 2002's new headquarters decision, company officials said.
        The Canadian plant is part of Brose's drive to bolster its already sizable share of the North American market, Kowal explained. Currently, the company holds 40 percent of the North American market for door systems and 15 percent of the continental market for window regulators.
        "Our success in the North American market has enabled Brose North America to continue its growth into Canada," Kowal said.
        Founded in 1919, privately held Brose has more than 7,000 employees in 24 locations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America.


©2003 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.