| MORAINE, Ohio
MORAINE, Ohio Oct 6 Chinese auto supplier Fuyao
Glass Industry Group will complete a total of $1
billion in U.S. manufacturing investments by the end 2017,
including about $500 million it has put into an automotive glass
plant in Ohio, the company's chairman told Reuters.
Ahead of the ceremonial opening of the Moraine, Ohio plant
on Friday, Fuyao Chairman Cho Tak Wong said Fuyao has started
renovating an industrial building in Plymouth, Michigan, outside
of Detroit. Cho said Fuyao will invest about $100 million there
and employ "at least 1,000 people." That plant is set to open by
the end of 2017, Cho said.
"Once the Plymouth plant is complete we will have invested
$1 billion in North America," Cho said.
On Friday, Cho plans to lead the celebration of the $500
million investment in the old GM plant, which now employs more
than 2,000 workers and will have as many as 2,500 by the end of
Fuyao's ceremony comes at a time when the loss of U.S.
factory jobs to China and other countries is a major issue in
the presidential election.
Cho said his company's decision to establish factories in
the United States was driven by executives at General Motors Co
and other automakers urging him to locate glass
production near their U.S. vehicle assembly factories.
"For our customers, they had the expectations that you will
be located close to them for supply chain stability," Cho said.
"If you ship from China, it is subject to all sorts of
disruptions such as weather or shipping company delays."
Production at the Moraine plant, near Dayton, will allow
Fuyao to double its current 12 percent share of the U.S.
automotive glass market, said John Gauthier, president of Fuyao
Fuyao bought the old GM plant for $15 million, got more than
$10 million in tax credits and infrastructure enhancements from
the state of Ohio, and was able to cut costs and speed the start
of production, compared to building a plant from scratch.
"It probably reduced the costs by half and the timing by
half," said Gauthier, the company's highest-ranking U.S.
Fuyao holds 20 percent of the global market, making it among
the two leaders, in large part because it commands 70 percent of
the world's biggest new vehicle market in China.
Fuyao also has invested about $250 million in a float glass
plant in Illinois that employs about 250 workers.
Cho, 70, maintains an office at the Ohio plant with a large
walnut desk imported from China and a painted portrait of the
chairman as a younger man. His main office is at Fuyao's
headquarters in Fuqing on China's southern coast.
The Moraine building Fuyao is using once was a GM assembly
plant that at one time employed more than 6,000 people.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by David Gregorio)