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MEDC grant catalyst for major expansion, new auto jobs

Thursday, April 10, 2014

LANSING, Mich. -- Within days of meeting with Gov. Rick Snyder at its global headquarters in Germany and the public unveiling of the state’s 30-year automotive strategy plan, auto-parts manufacturer Eberspaecher announced Wednesday the initial stage of a five-year, $122-million expansion at its Brighton plant. The three-fold expansion of the German-based Tier 1 leader in exhaust system technology is expected to add 545 new jobs, and further establish the firm among Michigan’s global automotive suppliers.

Aided by a $4.5-million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the Eberspaecher project offers a glimpse into the state’s economic future whereby automotive companies locate and expand operations in Michigan. The impact: A vibrant economy, additional jobs, and undisputable proof of Michigan’s place as the preeminent capital of the global automotive industry.

“Michigan’s greatest economic asset for long-term growth is the further development of our automotive industry as a global leader,” said Snyder. “Our 30-year growth plan builds on the assets of an unparalleled foundation of auto manufacturing, technology, talent, research and development and competitive know-how.”

On Tuesday, Nigel Francis, the state’s automotive adviser, presented a summary of Michigan’s automotive strategic plan at the annual Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Congress and Exhibition at Cobo Center in Detroit. The plan, which includes recommendations of a diverse taskforce of industry consultants, calls for intensive focus and renewed collaboration in attracting and retaining auto-related companies, skilled talent and capital investment.

Snyder and Francis met with senior company officials during a weeklong investment mission to Europe in Esslingen, Germany, last Thursday, April 10. Participants included Heinrich Baumann, COO & Managing Director of the Eberspächer Group, Dr. Thomas Waldhier, COO Exhaust Technology, and Douglas Swick, President Eberspaecher Exhaust Technology of the Americas, Michael Finney, MEDC President and CEO and Luke Bonner of Ann Arbor SPARK.

MEDC’s performance-based grant, approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund board in February, supported Eberspaecher’s decision to expand its facilities, along with the supportive business-growth environment in the state.

“We see the value in growing our presence here and now more than ever have the capacity to do so," said Doug Swick, president of Eberspaecher Exhaust Technologies of the Americas. "We are truly excited to move forward with this strategic investment. These actions result from our demonstrated strength in the domestic market coupled with the skill base we currently experience in the Michigan community for the future."

The first phase of the expansion includes the purchase of land in Brighton for the tripling in size of Eberspaecher’s current 110,000-square-foot facilities. In the short term, a minimum of 100 jobs are expected to be added for the manufacturing of exhaust systems and catalytic converters for commercial vehicles.

The expansion is expected to be completed by early 2019.

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the MEDC, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

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