Japanese auto supplier Yorozu Corp. said today it will invest more than $100 million in a new auto parts stamping plant in Jasper, creating 300 jobs.
Yorozu Automotive Alabama will be the latest plant operated by the global auto parts manufacturer when it is completed in January 2017 on a 50-acre site in the Jasper Industrial Park off Interstate 22.
“This plant will utilize state of the art technology with respect to production automation and logistics automation,” Yorozu America President Jack Phillips said. “It is the aim of the Yorozu group for this plant to be the number one suspension parts production facility in the world.”
Yorozu Automotive Alabama Inc. will operate as a subsidiary of Yorozu America Corporation.
“Yorozu is making a significant investment in Jasper and forming a great partnership with the state of Alabama,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “Automotive manufacturing is a significant industry in Alabama, and the 300 new jobs is a welcomed opportunity for citizens of Jasper and Walker County to obtain a good job with Yorozu.”
Yorozu will supply multiple automotive assembly plants with suspensions and other components from the new plant. Construction will begin by January 2016 with completion set for one year later.
“Jasper is on the move as a result of determination and teamwork,” said Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey. “Your city, county and state leadership have spent hundreds of hours working with the great people of Yorozu, which is resulting in the biggest local jobs announcement in recent memory. It’s because of days like this that I love being your mayor and working to make our community even greater.”
“The teamwork and cooperation between the state, local leaders, boards and utilities was critical to the successful recruitment of Yorozu,” said David Knight, executive director of the Walker County Development Authority. “Walker County’s close proximity to multiple automotive OEMs, direct access to Interstate 22 and a high-quality labor force provided key advantages during the site selection process.”
Though construction of Interstate 22 is not completed, officials say it is already bringing the kind of economic development opportunities promised when the new interstate connection between Birmingham and Memphis was proposed.
“We are proud to be part of the economic development team along with Jasper, Walker County and state of Alabama officials who have been working with Yorozu Automotive,” said Blair King, Alabama Power Economic Development project manager. “With the completion of I-22 just around the corner, coupled with a project of this magnitude with Yorozu Automotive in Jasper, the future of this corridor is very exciting.”
Jasper Industrial Development Board Chairman Russ Robertson agreed.
“With the upcoming completion of I-22 into Birmingham, available workforce and a pad-ready site, Yorozu has selected the perfect time to locate in the new Jasper Industrial Park,” Robertson said.
“Walker County has always been a shining star, and Yorozu America’s announcement today shows the world is taking notice,” said Sen. Greg Reed. “Most importantly, I’m thankful for the hundreds of new jobs this opportunity brings with it.”
Yorozu officials have been working behind the scenes and have plans to prepare workers for the new jobs.
“Yorozu Corporation employees from Japan, along with Yorozu America and Yorozu Automotive Tennessee employees, have had the honor of working closely with Alabama state and local officials in Jasper for many months,” said CFO Toshiyuki Yago. “Today’s announcement is the result of this work. We look forward to becoming a member of the community and to many years of mutual benefit.”
Officials reiterated the teamwork involved in recruiting such a project.
“This is a perfect example of what can be accomplished when local governments and private corporations join together to make great things happen,” said Billy Luster, chairman of the Walker County Commission.
Yorozu Corporation was founded in 1948 and has grown to include facilities in Japan, North and South America, China and Southeast Asia. The company has over 6,000 employees worldwide.