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Photo by: Worker at Alabama’s Hyundai plant.

Supplier Donghee America to open $48 million Auburn manufacturing plant

AUBURN, Alabama – Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said today that auto supplier Donghee America Inc. plans to invest $48 million to open an Auburn manufacturing plant, creating 80 jobs.

“Alabama has a strong workforce and a positive business climate, and that helps us recruit well-paying jobs for the people of this state,” Governor Bentley said. “Alabama’s role in the automotive industry continues to grow.”

Donghee America will produce fuel tanks to serve the nearby automotive industry, which includes a Hyundai assembly plant in Montgomery and a Kia operation just across the state line in West Point, Ga. The company’s highly sophisticated manufacturing process will require it to employ a large number of engineers, Alabama officials said. The hiring of key members of the operation already has started.

“We are working with state and local economic developers for more good opportunities, and this announcement is a great example of what a strong economic development program can accomplish,” Bentley added. “We welcome Donghee America to Auburn and look forward to working with company leaders to help them succeed and even expand their business here in Alabama.”

Donghee America will locate at the corner of Innovation Drive and Riley Street in the Auburn Technology Park West. Site preparation for the project began in early March. Construction of the 117,000-square-foot manufacturing facility is scheduled to be complete later this year.

Alabama officials said the commitment by Donghee America will further strengthen the region’s growing automotive industry.

“I am truly convinced that Alabama is the most business-friendly state in the nation, and Donghee America’s decision to invest in Auburn proves just that,” said Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn. “Our pro-business, pro-private sector focus has paid off and is exemplified by Alabama’s steady growth in the automobile industry.”

The Auburn-Opelika area has had considerable success in landing auto parts supplier projects recently. Last year, Germany-based RAPA said it was putting a production facility and its North America headquarters in Auburn, ultimately creating 105 jobs. An existing supplier Seung Chang Airtech expanded, pushing its job total to more than 200 and its investment to $16.8 million. In Opelika, Mando recently announced a $35 million expansion that will create 67 jobs.

“Once again, we’re thankful for our great relationship with Governor Bentley and the State of Alabama and all that they do to benefit Alabama’s economy,” Auburn Mayor Bill Ham Jr. said. “Donghee America is a great fit for Auburn’s industrial community and will bring innovation and high-tech jobs to our economy.”

Chairman D.H. Lee of Donghee Group said the company’s Alabama location will allow Donghee America to better serve its customers, Hyundai and Kia.

“I appreciate the support from the State of Alabama under the leadership of Governor Bentley,” Chairman Lee said. “We are looking forward to a prosperous and successful partnership between the State of Alabama and the Donghee Group. Soon, we will be able to say, ‘Made in Alabama!”

Earlier this year, Donghee America completed the site selection process by executing a memorandum of understanding with the City of Auburn.

“Our special gratitude goes out to Mayor Ham and the leadership at the City of Auburn. The general conditions we find in the City of Auburn will allow for the necessary support that Donghee America will require moving forward with our state-of-the-art manufacturing operation,” said Gyung-Soo Kim, President of Donghee America.

Alabama has been winning hundreds of auto supplier jobs in recent months.

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