Eissmann Group Automotive Selects Port Huron, Michigan Facility for North American Expansion
St. Clair County, Michigan
Eissmann Group Automotive, a global leader in the manufacturing of high-quality shifter modules, trim components and full car interiors, is expanding operations in the Midwest and will invest $13.55 million in a facility in Port Huron, Michigan and creating up to 233 new jobs.
The Eissmann Group Automotive is a leading international automotive manufacturer of high-end shifter modules, trim components and complete automotive interiors. Headquartered in Bad Urach, Germany, the Eissmann Group has production facilities on three continents; maintaining a presence not only in Europe but also in Mexico, China and the USA. Customers include Audi, BMW, Volvo, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Tesla, Maserati, Land Rover, and many others.
“We conducted a very thorough multi-state search for a location that would maximize our ability to service existing and future customers,” said Brian Tinney, President of Eissmann Automotive North America, Inc. “Ultimately, location and availability of workforce drove the site decision.”
In June, the company purchased a 63,000-square-foot building in the Port Huron Industrial Park formerly occupied by GMA Cover Corp.
“We selected a building that enables us to ramp production quickly to support existing customers and provides room for expansion,” said Tinney.
The planned investment includes new equipment, addition of more truck docks and office space, and an 85,000-square-foot expansion to the plant. The company plans to hire professional and technical staff and a core team of industrial sewers this fall. Production is expected to occur in early 2015 and will include a significant increase in employment.
“We are excited to welcome Eissmann Group to our international city,” said Port Huron Mayor Pauline Repp. “We rolled out the red carpet when the company first came to town and were fortunate to have many partners around the table committed to the project.”
“We have great assets to sell, including our workforce and the quality of life in the Blue Water area, but the competition for these projects is fierce,” said Jeff Bohm, Chairman of the County Commission. “I think the level of collaboration that we demonstrated to the company was a big factor in its decision to locate here.”
The Economic Development Alliance began working with the State of Michigan and the company in January. There were many hurdles to overcome before St. Clair County made it to the short list. Eissmann toured more than 20 sites in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio.
“At one point, our sites were eliminated from the search,” said Dan Casey, CEO of the Economic Development Alliance. “But we have a very experienced team of professionals at the EDA and a great story to tell. Eissmann’s executives agreed to take another look and when they came into town for the site tours, I think the leadership from the city and county and the business case that we presented really impressed the company and its consultants.”
“This project is another example of how global and competitive this industry is,” said David Haynes, Director of Business Attraction at the EDA. “No longer are we competing only with our neighboring counties. We had great partners at the table supporting this effort including private sector companies that endorsed our community and that made a big difference.”
Governor Rick Snyder met with company executives in Germany in May to pitch the Port Huron location. State and local incentives, including an $850,000 grant from the Michigan Business Development Program, were also a factor in the decision. The St. Clair County Brownfield Authority also provided a site assessment grant.
St. Clair Community College is collaborating on the project and will be working with the company on a Michigan New Jobs Training Program grant of $300,000. The company will prepay the training and be reimbursed from future withholding taxes generated by the wages earned by new employees.
“We’re very excited to be able to contribute to the attraction of this important company to our community,” said the college’s president Kevin Pollock. “Our Workforce Development team is working closely with Eissmann to establish an in-house training program that we hope to have up and running early next year.”
The initial meeting of the Eissmann team and community occurred in late February when snow blanketed the city and ice jammed the river. As the site process continued, company representatives had opportunities to visit the downtown, its restaurants and hotels, and housing options. Every angle of the community was explored, from its public and private schools, to condominium and loft options.
“The Eissmann team really likes the downtown feel of Port Huron, the housing options and the quality of the workforce,” added Tinney. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to grow our business and become a contributing partner in the community.”
EDA staff provided the company with a wide variety of services, from temporary office space to identifying potential local contractors. “At times it seemed like we were on the payroll, but the fact is that our job is to sell the community and be customer focused,” said Casey. “This is a tremendous company that wants to settle into the community and establish deep roots. They have great pride in the craftsmanship of their workforce and we are so pleased that they have chosen to locate their business in the Port Huron area.”
The Economic Development Alliance (EDA) of St. Clair County is a private non-profit organization that provides general purpose economic development services throughout St. Clair County. EDA offers a wide variety of services involving business recruitment and business retention with an overall goal of enhancing the quality of life for residents in St. Clair County. The EDA is supported by a membership of over 100 businesses from the private & public sector. www.edascc.com.