Aisin Automotive Expanding in Tennessee

Aluminum diecaster starts $67-million project

Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee Inc. has undertaken a $67-million expansion at its Clinton, TN, diecasting operation. The plant already includes capabilities for aluminum melting, casting, machining, and assembly, for water pumps, oil pumps, and pistons. It opened in 2004 as a satellite to Aisin Automotive Casting L.L.C., in London, KY. Both are subsidiaries to Aisin Seiki Ltd., a Japanese auto parts manufacturer, and supply General Motors, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota assembly plants in the South and Midwest.

A groundbreaking was held Monday, September 10.

The expansion will increase the size of the Clinton facility from 240,000-ft2 to 480,000 ft2 of manufacturing space, and add approximately 160 new positions for total work force of about 560. The announcement was made by the East Tennessee Economic Development Agency.

Tennessee authorities are promoting the Knoxville-Oak Ridge area as a center for automotive research, particularly biofuel technologies. The Automotive Research Alliance links the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), University of Tennessee (UT), Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) and the National Transportation Research Center Inc. (NTRCI) in coordinating research efforts, and the effort is also supported by the state's government. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has spurred the initiatives into biofuel research and production.

About 20% of the area's manufacturing employment base is tied to the automotive industry. "Aisin represents the type of company we are targeting to locate and expand in Tennessee," Governor Bredesen said.

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