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Georgia welcomes automotive part manufacturing growth, new factory serves as OEM supplier

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A new autoparts manufacturing facility is set to open in Georgia next year as repairers and OEMs continue to face lengthy backlogs for parts orders.

Seoyon E-HWA, a global parts manufacturer, will invest $76 million in a Chatham County factory that will produce interior and exterior parts, Gov. Brian P. Kemp announced this month.

It will be the company’s second facility in the state.

The news came less than a year after Hyundai Motor Group announced plans to build its first U.S. electric vehicle and battery manufacturing facilities in Georgia, creating 8,100 new jobs.

“With its second Georgia facility, Seoyon is committing to nearly doubling the number of jobs it supports in the state and extending its partnership with our business community,” said Pat Wilson, Georgia’s Department of Economic Development commissioner.

“As anticipated, Hyundai’s new EV facility is drawing an experienced and dedicated supplier network to the region, adding to the state’s industry expertise and shaping a larger skilled workforce. That level of growth gives our industries the groundwork for future success, and we’re excited to work with our many partners across the state and near Savannah to create the jobs of the future.”

Meantime, Rivian is working to build a $5 billion plant east of Atlanta that will be capable of producing up to 400,000 vehicles per year.

Georgia is positioning itself as a hub for the EV industry; more than 35 related projects have been announced totaling $21 billion in investments since 2020, the state said in a press release.

The new Seoyon E-HWA plant is expected to generate 740 new jobs, with about 500 of those positions slated as permanent.

The OEMs it supplies parts–including door trim, headlining, seats, C/PAD and bumpers–to include Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Ford and Volkswagen.

The announcement of a new parts manufacturing facility comes amid a backlog of parts orders.

It was reported last month that computer chip shortages as well as a lack of other automotive parts “continued to hobble” the U.S. auto industry last year and contributed to an 8% drop in vehicle sales compared to 2021 — the lowest level in more than a decade.

Automakers reported earlier this month that they sold 13.9 million cars, trucks, SUVs, and vans in 2022 while parts shortage limited factory output amid high demand for new vehicles. It was the lowest sales number since 2011 when the economy was recovering from the Great Recession.

Manufacturers in the Southeastern U.S. have been under scrutiny recently,  with the Occupational Health and Safety Authority recently announcing it would expand its auto parts inspection program for an additional four years.

It extended the program timeline after inspections from 2014 through 2022 yielded 793 citations, Bloomberg reported.

Within the used car sector, part shortages have delayed repairs for months throughout the country and extended the length of vehicle rentals.

Enterprise reported that length of rental (LOR) increased to 18.7 days during Q4 2022 and was nearly double compared to pre-pandemic April 2019 when LOR was 11.8 days.

“While Q4 2022 continued with the return of historical trending, the results themselves continue to be exacerbated by supply chain disruptions, parts delays, collision repair backlogs, and technician shortages,” Enterprise said. “With the complexity of vehicle repairs only increasing, for both internal combustion engine (ICE) and battery electric vehicles (BEV) models, the entire industry must play a part in ensuring all collision-related businesses are aligned — not just for procedural solutions, but to ensure our mutual customers receive safe and proper repairs, an excellent experience and peace of mind.”


(Courtesy of iStock)

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