Fairfield auto supplier expanding to make aluminum vehicle parts

12:30 p.m Tuesday, March 29, 2016 News

An automotive supplier in Fairfield is expanding to make aluminum vehicle parts for one of its automaker customers, a company manager told Fairfield City Council members at their meeting Monday.

This news outlet first reported online Friday that Pacific Manufacturing of Fairfield, a Tier 1 auto supplier to Toyota, was planning an approximately $50 million, 72,000-square-foot building expansion at its facilities on Seward Road.

Expansion plans could also add about 60 new jobs over the next three years, according to city records.

The project received approval Monday for the Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit from state authorities, as well as property tax incentives from the city government.

“With this new expansion, we’ll expand to a new customer, which will be Subaru. This allows us to advance in new technology, meaning aluminum, more aluminum parts for automotive makers to make lightweight cars to get better gas mileage,” said Kim Hall, general manager of purchasing for Pacific.

Fairfield’s labor pool and new technologies were credited by the company for the new investment, Hall said during discussion at the council meeting before incentives were approved.

“We got the 2016 new technology award from our number one customer, Toyota,” she said.

Pacific Manufacturing is one of Fairfield’s largest employers of about 540 people, according to the city. The auto parts maker produces metal stamping products and molded plastic for automobiles and tire valve products, according to Pacific’s website.

Most of the new $50 million investment is expected to be spent on new equipment, and Hall added that the larger building space will have room to house three large stamping machines.

“They are making a commitment to expand further in Fairfield,” said Greg Kathman, Fairfield’s economic development manager.

Aluminum is now second to steel as the most used material in vehicles, according to trade group The Aluminum Association.

“We are in a multi-material world. We’re talking here mainly about the body, but most modern cars use aluminum castings and 80 percent of the aluminum in a car is cast. The next place to lightweight with aluminum would be in the body,” Doug Richman, vice president of engineering for Kaiser Aluminum and chair of the Technical Committee of the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group, recently told “Automotive World.”

National auto sales climbed to a record 17.47 million new vehicles sold in 2015, according to Autodata Corp.

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