Japanese Auto Parts Maker To Build First US Plant Near Small Tennessee Town

Meiwa will invest some $6.1 million in a facility expected to open in spring of 2014. Credit Stéphane Gaudry / flickr

Meiwa will invest some $6.1 million in a facility expected to open in spring of 2014. Image credit Stéphane Gaudry / flickr

A Japanese company that makes parts for carmakers like Nissan is breaking ground in the U.S. for the first time in Lewisburg, 50 miles south of Nashville.  Meiwa expects to employ about 98 people making parts for cars’ seats, trunks and floors.

Given the bevy of big carmakers in the region, it’s little surprise companies like Meiwa now want to follow suit, says Tom Brewer, head of the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association:

“Obviously with Volkswagen, Nissan and General Motors here, that draws your suppliers, your research and development, and your innovation groups so they follow I’ll say the big boys.”

Brewer also credits state officials for things like favorable tax rates, and he says given hundreds of other parts-makers in the area, Meiwa should have an easy time finding skilled workers for its plant.  Such expansions are a bright spot in Tennessee, since the state’s unemployment rate has hovered around 8 percent for the last year.

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