Neaton Auto Products’ Eaton facility. Neaton corporate image

Area auto parts company to add 70 jobs, $15M investment

The largest Preble County employer has plans to expand its operation and add 70 new jobs, the Dayton Development Coalition announced Tuesday.

Neaton Auto Products Manufacturing, a manufacturer of automobile parts for Honda, Nissan and Toyota, will invest $15 million to expand its factory that sits 25 miles west of Dayton.

David Gulling, Neaton executive vice president, acknowledged that the sedan market has been challenged for most of this year, but said the market for light trucks and SUVs is decidedly stronger.

“When we look at expansions, though, we’re not really at today’s market,” Gulling said. “We’re looking at the future, a couple of years down.”

A JobsOhio spokesman said the state’s private development arm will provide assistance for the project, which will be made public after a final agreement is executed.

The company’s main customer at the Eaton facility is Honda, Gulling said.

The company will convert existing warehouse space into manufacturing space — and then expand by creating new warehousing space. The plan also calls for the purchase of injection molding machines and other equipment.

“We’re looking for good people, and hopefully we can recruit them into our team,” Gulling said.

State officials applauded the expansion plans.

“The Dayton region is in the heart of the I-75 corridor, making it the ideal location for auto suppliers like Neaton to manufacture and ship its products to major auto manufacturers,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said in the coalition’s announcement. “Neaton has been established in the region since 1984 and has chosen to expand several times in Eaton, showing the confidence the company has in Ohio’s talent to drive its global growth.”

Neaton has had four expansions at the company’s Eaton facility, where the company today employs about 800 people.

But Gulling said that actually understates matters somewhat. Neaton has slowly and steadily expanded from the company’s founding in the mid-1980s.

“There have been multiple expansions,” he said. “I think four is actually understated.”

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The announcement comes after DeWine and leaders of JobsOhio and the coalition met with leadership of Neaton’s parent company, Nihon Plast Co, during a recent visit to Japan, the coalition said.

The expansion builds on Neaton’s history and takes advantage Eaton’s central location and proximity to major automotive manufacturers, the coalition said.

The company produces safety products such as airbags and steering wheels, instrument panel and cockpit components as well as interior and exterior trim products.

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“Neaton is one of our largest employers; we are very excited about their plans for expansion here in Eaton,” said Eaton City Manager Bradley Collins.

In addition to the Eaton plant, Neaton has facilities in Mexico and Georgia.

According to the Consulate General of Japan in Detroit, there were 484 Japanese-owned companies in Ohio in 2017, directly employing 77,073 people, the highest total in the Midwest.

According to a more recent state report, Japanese-owned businesses comprise 27 percent of international investment in Ohio.

Nihon Plast Co. is a global manufacturer of interior and exterior synthetic resin parts for the automotive industry such as airbag modules, steering wheels, instrument panel components and air spoilers. Founded in 1948, the company has over $1 billion in revenues and is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

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The announcement comes after DeWine and leaders of JobsOhio and the coalition met with leadership of Neaton’s parent company, Nihon Plast Co, Ltd., during a recent visit to Japan, the coalition said.

“For 35 years, the hardworking people of Preble County have inspired the growth of Neaton Auto Products,” said David Gulling, Neaton executive vice president. “Our new expansion is a testament to these associates.”

The expansion builds on Neaton’s history and takes advantage Eaton’s central location and proximity to major automotive manufacturers, the coalition said.

A supplier to Honda and other automakers, Neaton was formed in 1984 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nihon Plast Co. The company produces safety products such as airbags and steering wheels, instrument panel and cockpit components as well as interior and exterior trim products.

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