While it’s a good idea to be close to your customers, how close depends on what the state has to offer.
Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems had a choice of states from which to supply interior trim components, including door panels, floor consoles and instrument panels, to General Motors’ plants in Wentzville, Mo. and Fairfax, Kan.
The decision to locate its new 258,000 square-foot facility ultimately rested on the level of support the company felt it had from the area. “The Missouri team impressed us and provided a lot of professional resources," explained David Wang, CEO, Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems.
The team is the Missouri Partnership. Since 2007, the group had worked with state, regional and local economic development organizations to bring new business to the state.
The Partnership is an integral part of an overall strategy by the state to expand its automotive supple chain. To that end in 2010 Governor Jay Nixon called the state legislature into special session to pass the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, which contained new incentives specifically geared to Missouri auto manufacturers and suppliers.
The strategy paid off and in 2011 both Ford and General Motors expanded.
In the past year auto supply companies in Perryville, Mexico, New Haven, Liberty, Joplin, St. Peters and Kansas City all announcing significant expansions.
Governor Nixon wasn’t content to sit still. In January he visited the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and met with Yanfeng Visteon,which was founded in 1994, as a joint-venture between Ford and Shanghai Automotive Industrial Company and is the parent company of Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems, based in Michigan.
In April Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems made the announcement that it was investing $45 million in a new production facility creating 263 new local jobs.
In fact the company was so impressed with the area that they purchased additional land to expand. One reason the company felt comfortable growing at this location was due to the level and availability of local talent. “We did our research and found given the workforce available that served both Ford and GM and the universities and college programs we would be able to find skilled workers,” Wang said.
Yanfeng also received workforce assistance in the form of the Missouri Quality jobs program as well as access to customized training for its employees.
That assistance along with other incentives including tax breaks are part of an overall package that was available to the company. “Missouri has a good investment climate,” said Wang.
Wang’s experience with the state has led him to reach other to other companies based in China and suggest they come to Missouri to continue to improve the auto supply chain.