A Chinese automotive brake and suspension system manufacturer has announced plans to set up its first U.S. production facility inside Progress Park in Greenfield. BeijingWest Industries Co. Ltd., whose customers include Audi, BMW, General Motors and Porsche, will invest more than $80 million to build the 276,000 square-foot plant, creating up to 441 high-wage jobs by 2021.
Greg Dronen, global facilities director for BWI, tells Inside INdiana Business the company plans to break ground on the facility in early July with production expected to begin around May 2019. He says demand forced the company to decide between expanding its current facility in Mexico or building a new one.
"We were wrestling actually between multiple states and even Mexico and it came down to where our supply base is, where our customers are at and the wage structure in region," said Dronen. "We looked at about 24 different sites in the state of Indiana and we were looking for something that had some presence on a major interstate or major route for traffic as well as (being) well located within a city that had some amenities that our employees could avail themselves of and it really came down to three or four, and then from there, it was how well would it fit with that community."
With the new Greenfield facility, the company expects to boost production by four million parts per year. BWI says plans call for hiring machine operators, maintenance and lab technicians beginning in February, all of which are expected to pay higher than the state average wage. Additionally, the company will be working with Ivy Tech Community College to develop workforce training.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says it plans to offer BWI up to $4.5 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants, which still needs approval from the IEDC Board of Directors. The city of Greenfield is considering additional tax incentives as well.
Dronen says the company looked throughout North America before settling on Greenfield.