$190 Million Expansion Shows Denso Confidence in US Manufacturing

Leaders at Denso Corp., a global manufacturer that supplies advanced “thermal, powertrain control, electronics and information and safety” for automotive components, systems, and technologies, have announced another investment in Tennessee manufacturing. The $190 million expansion in its Athens, Tennessee, facility will bring with it 320 new jobs.

Denso Corp.

Headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, Denso consists of more than 200 subsidiaries as well as partners in 38 countries and regions employing more than 150,000 people. In North America alone, Denso owns and operates 28 consolidated subsidiaries and partners with four affiliates employing more than 23,000 people. Denso has a proven track record of success: The company announced $9.6 billion in sales in North American last year of its $40.4 billion global sales total, and Automotive News ranked the company number four on its list of the top 100 global suppliers.

Tennessee investments

Although its North American headquarters are located in Southfield, Michigan, according to the press release, Denso has had a presence in Tennessee for more than 30 years. In fact, Denso employs nearly 4,500 in Tennessee facility locations in Maryville, Athens, and Jackson. The Athens announcement follows Denso’s September 2017 announcement to invest $1 billion in its Maryville, Tennessee, facility, which allowed the company to add 1,000 new jobs there.

While the Maryville investment added jobs focused in electrification and safety systems, Athens jobs will be created across “production, facility operations, engineering, administration and other skilled-traded positions.” With this proposition, Denso will reveal “a new Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) production line, one low-pressure fuel pump line and two high-pressure fuel pump lines.” Today, employees at the Athens facility make “fuel injectors, fuel pumps, oxygen sensors, ignition coils, monolithic carriers, and spark plugs.” The new investment will increase Denso’s ability to produce and deliver these parts to automakers across North America.

Why Tennessee — and why now?

factory floorDenso’s next Tennessee expansion signifies a continuation of Japan leaders’ confidence in building manufacturing relationships in the state. In fact, Japan has been a leading foreign investor in Tennessee for three decades, totaling $19 billion and adding 51,000 new jobs.

Japanese company leaders’ confidence is well-founded: The U.S. economy has been on the rise, and industry insiders expect the trend to continue due to U.S. tax reforms. The Maryville expansion puts Denso in the perfect position to take advantage of American economic growth by localizing production of three innovative technologies: “inverters for electric vehicles, radar components and data control modules to enable connectivity,” according to the Automotive News article.

Votes of confidence

Excitement about the Denso expansion is evident from many parties.

  • Commissioner Bob Rolfe from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development confirms that Denso has been a key player in manufacturing in McMinn County, employing more citizens than any other business in the county, according to the Business Facilities article.
  • Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam believes the expansion will allow Tennessee to lead the creation of high-quality jobs.
  • Hugh Cantrell, the director of Administrative Services for Denso Manufacturing in Athens, Tennessee, claims the new investment will strengthen a key production center and the localization will be a catalyst for Denso’s continued growth in the region.
  • Bill Hagerty, U.S. ambassador to Japan, has called the move “a vote of confidence in the U.S. economy and the American worker,” according to the press release.

Tennessee and Denso have established a mutually beneficial manufacturing relationship, but the “Volunteer State” is not the only business locale for this global manufacturer. In addition to the expansions in Tennessee, Denso also operates plants in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas, according to the press release. Denso executives are successfully building a reputation of integrity and innovation for their company as a global manufacturer, and their confidence in manufacturing in America continues to grow.

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