Austrian automotive supplier voestalpine Automotive Body Parts Inc. announced plans to open an $11.1 million Birmingham facility that’s expected to create 42 jobs.
Voestalpine will produce a variety of automotive components, including stamped and hot formed parts, at an existing facility located at 260-A Lyon Lane, in Birmingham’s Oxmoor Valley, according to the Birmingham Business Alliance.
“Automotive manufacturing is a significant industry in Alabama, and these new jobs are a welcome opportunity for the citizens of Birmingham and Jefferson County,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “The Alabama workforce is strong, and it will be a great partner for voestalpine to make its project successful.”
Room for Growth
Voestalpine’s expansion into Alabama stems from the overall growth of the automotive segment and increased demand from its customers. The 52,000-square-foot Birmingham facility also provides the company capacity for future growth.
“This investment is an important step in the growth strategy of our company in the U.S.,” said Philipp Schulz, local managing director of voestalpine Automotive Body Parts. “We are very excited about starting operations in Birmingham and being part of the automotive supplier network in Alabama.
“We especially would like to thank the state and local officials along with the Birmingham Industrial Development Board for their assistance in this project,” Schulz added.
The company, a key supplier to European automakers, is expanding into Alabama as the state’s auto supply chain is undergoing a significant growth spurt. Last year, more than $3 billion in new investment was announced in the state’s auto sector, with most of that coming from suppliers. Employment by suppliers in Alabama has more than doubled since 2010.
“Voestalpine is a leading partner to the auto industry in Europe and represents another strong addition to Alabama’s ever-expanding automotive supply chain,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“Our economic development team will continue to work hard to build out that supply chain with new jobs and new investment.”
Officials said voestalpine worked closely with the Alabama Department of Commerce, City of Birmingham, Alabama Power Co. and Birmingham Business Alliance (BBA) on the expansion. Also as part of what was called “Project Alpine,” the City of Birmingham agreed to abate the non-educational allocated portion of sales and property taxes related to the project, an incentive valued at an estimated $960,237 over 10 years.
Birmingham Mayor William A. Bell Sr. said voestalpine is a solid addition to the growing auto sector in Alabama’s largest city.
“The City of Birmingham continues to see additional foreign direct investment in the community and this project will mark the second company within the voestalpine group to locate within the city, the first being voestalpine Nortrack, a market leader in turnout technology for the railway industry,” he said.
“Jefferson County welcomes voestalpine to the area and looks forward to the positive economic impact the company will make on our county,” added Commissioner David Carrington of the Jefferson County Commission. “We also look forward to future expansion opportunities and to supporting them in every way possible.”
Linz, Austria-based parent company voestalpine Group AG is comprised of 500 companies with locations in more than 50 countries on five continents. Besides automotive and railway systems, it operates in segments including energy, construction, mechanical engineering and aerospace.
The Birmingham location will give voestalpine ready access to existing and potential new customers in automotive, while providing overall efficiencies, said Jeff Traywick, a BBA senior project manager.
“Having one of the leading partners in the automotive and consumer goods industry will be a valuable asset to Birmingham,” Traywick said. “We are excited to welcome voestalpine to the area and look forward to what they will accomplish in the future.”