The Mississippi Automotive Industry Paving the Way with Milestones
28 Jun, 2017By: Governor Phil Bryant
Mississippi is an automotive manufacturing powerhouse, consistently paving the way with impressive milestones. With an investment of $1.45 billion and creation of 2,500 jobs, Continental Tire the Americas, LLC’s recent decision to locate in Hinds County has led to more than one award.
Recent Mississippi Automotive Industry Milestones
Mississippi recently experienced many other industry milestones. Yokohama Tire, FEUER Powertrain and hago Automotive celebrated grand openings. Continental Tire broke ground at the future plant site. Nissan debuted the newly redesigned Nissan Titan XD pickup truck and produced its three-millionth vehicle, while Toyota celebrated five years of production. The Feuer Powertrain manufacturing facility in Tunica County became the company’s first U.S. manufacturing operation and headquarters. The Yokohama Tire plant in West Point was the company’s first plant in the U.S. built from the ground up.
Mississippi’s contributions to the automotive industry include Toyota and Nissan automobiles and PACCAR trucks. As the only U.S. state to house Japan’s top two automotive manufacturers, Mississippi produces more than half a million vehicles per year with a workforce trained by the state’s highly ranked community college system. In a little more than a decade, more than 200 automotive-related manufacturers located to Mississippi and employed more than 20,000 skilled workers.
Nissan North America was the Catalyst in Recruiting Automotive Manufacturing Companies
Nissan North America was the catalyst in recruiting automotive manufacturing companies to Mississippi after becoming the state’s first original vehicle manufacturer (OEM) in 2003. A 2016 report from the National Strategic Planning and Analysis Research Center detailed the economic impact of the auto giant, concluding the plant has brought more than 25,000 direct and indirect jobs and directly employed more than 6,400 Mississippians.
State takes an Innovative Approach to Building Next-Gen Workforce
To strengthen the automotive sector, the state takes an innovative approach to building a next-generation workforce with robust research universities and a top-ranked community college system. Mississippi State University’s Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems focuses on improving engineering, manufacturing and design technologies. The School of Polymers and High Performance Materials and the Mississippi Polymer Institute at University of Southern Mississippi lead the nation in the study of composites, advanced materials, polymers and plastics. Mississippi’s community colleges work directly with companies, providing pre-employment training and customized training programs, ensuring workers are ready to contribute to a high-quality product on day one.
Mississippi Colleges Partner with Business
Continental Tire, Yokohama, Toyota, FEUER Powertrain and Toyoda Gosei are just a few industry leaders in Mississippi partnering with the state’s community colleges for their workforce training needs.
Hinds Community College will spearhead Continental’s cutting-edge workforce training to prepare future employees to hit the ground running when the plant opens. Yokohama partners with East Mississippi Community College for the company’s workforce training needs. The community college’s 96-hour Basic Manufacturing Skills Course was a critical aspect of Yokohama’s decision to locate in West Point. The community college trains all of Yokohama Tire Manufacturing Mississippi’s employees through online manufacturing courses and hands-on training using the same types of machinery and equipment used at the Yokohama plant. The facility is available for students wanting to work in the manufacturing sector.
Northwest Mississippi Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Program partners with businesses to train highly skilled electronics engineering technicians. Northwest partners with automotive industry leaders such as Toyoda Gosei, FEUER Powertrain and more.
The Mississippi Works Fund
To strengthen these partnerships between industry and educational institutions, the Mississippi Legislature enacted the Mississippi Works Fund during the 2016 legislative session. The fund allows the state’s community college system to enhance existing customizable training programs to more effectively meet the needs of companies. The fund allocates $50 million over 10 years for workforce training. Seventy-five percent of the funds are allocated toward new job creation, while 25 percent are allocated for existing workforce training and workforce certification.
The Corporate Franchise Tax Phase-Out
The Mississippi Legislature also passed the Corporate Franchise Tax phase-out. The legislation encourages corporate competitiveness and expansion by eliminating the state’s corporate franchise tax over a 10-year period starting in 2018. The law reduces the current $2.50 tax for each $1,000 of capital by $.25 a year, with the phase-out completing in 2027. The phase-out also includes an exemption on the first $100,000 of capital.
The Corporate Franchise Tax phase-out and Mississippi Works Fund join an extensive portfolio of existing state business incentives, creating a second-to-none pro-business climate. As a top 10 state for low cost of doing business, low union membership rate, speed of permitting and competitive utility rates, Mississippi is a prime location for automotive-related companies looking to drive investment.
With a strong incentives portfolio, a business-friendly environment, low operating costs, robust infrastructure and an ever-growing skilled workforce, industry leaders from around the U.S. and around the world continue to find their competitive edge in Mississippi.
Numerous Additional Benefits of Mississippi for Businesses
In addition to a first-class workforce, Mississippi’s competitive energy rates and seamless one-stop permitting process further strengthen the state’s supportive business climate. Mississippi’s award-winning infrastructure and proven logistics capabilities contribute to the success of companies in the state, where a well-integrated, highly ranked transportation network ensures companies can effectively and efficiently move their products to market. The state is centrally located in the fastest growing region of the U.S. and offers convenient access to global distribution hub Memphis, Tennessee. Ranked 10th best in the country in 2016 in the Reason Foundation’s “22nd Annual Highway Report,” Mississippi’s seven interstate highways and 14 federal highways provide companies with one-day roadway access to more than 55 percent of U.S. businesses and population centers. The state’s 15 ports, including two deep water ports on the Gulf of Mexico, offer quick, convenient access to national and international markets. T&ID