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Auto, truckmakers investing nearly $1.8B in Ohio

Auto manufacturers have poured nearly $1.8 billion into Ohio plants recently, adding jobs in an industry that employs 21,000 Ohioans and is rebounding from big losses during the Great Recession.

Experts attributed the new investments to several factors — increasing demand from consumers, recent union contracts, and streamlined manufacturing and distribution processes that make it more cost-effective to produce vehicles and parts in the state.

The rebounding auto industry also benefits companies that produce and supply parts for the automakers, leading to additional jobs and investment.

In the past three years alone, recent announcements have included:

• Honda plans to spend $70 million next year for a Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville to produce the Acura NSX supercar. Honda has also announced investments that include $481 million and 200 jobs at its engine plant in Anna, $87 million and 150 jobs at the Marysville Auto Plant, $181 million at the East Liberty Auto Plant and $235 million and 100 jobs in Russells Point.

• Ford Motor Co. decided last month to invest $500 million and add 300 jobs at its Lima Engine Plant. The facility will produce Ford’s new 2.7-liter EcoBoost Engine for the 2015 Ford F150. In February last year, the company also announced it will invest about $200 million and add 450 jobs at its Cleveland Engine Plant to meet demand for the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine.

• Navistar closed its facility in Garland, Texas, last year and moved production to a plant in Springfield and Escobedo, Mexico. The company also hired a new plant manager in Springfield and spent about $13 million for infrastructure improvements, as well as new tooling and quality systems. Navistar will also spend about $15 million in improvements at the paint facility in Springfield. Those projects are expected to be completed by later this summer.

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