By Mark Cavitt
A major investment is being made in Auburn Hills.
Samsung SDI America, which manufactures rechargeable batteries for the automotive industry, is planning to build a $62.7 million high-volume battery pack manufacturing facility, the first of its kind in The United States. The investment is expected to create 461 jobs by the end of 2024, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
The company, headquartered in San Jose, is a subsidiary of Samsung SDI Co., Ltd., which employs over 30,000 people worldwide. The proposed Auburn Hills facility will be the center of Samsung’s automotive battery operations and home to its North American headquarters, research and development technical center and all battery pack manufacturing operations.
“We are very honored that Samsung SDI America has chosen to continue to grow within our community,” said McDaniel. “”It’s always great when a corporation that’s already invested in your community showcases their confidence in the community by reinvesting and growing further. We have worked very diligently to support this exciting project. We are looking forward to working with them and seeing their continued success.”
To help lure the project to Michigan, the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved a $10 million Michigan Business Development Program Grant for the company to aid with projects costs. In addition, the City of Auburn Hills is expected to approve a property tax abatement while the state approves a 6-mill State Education Tax abatement.
There were two competing sites in Oregon and Ohio. Two advantages to building in Auburn Hills are the opportunity for immediate occupancy with the ability to expand as the project grows and being close proximity to its primary supplier.
Even with these advantages, incentive assistance was needed to compete with the Ohio site, according to the MEDC. The company did identify several concerns about building in Michigan.
These concerns included having immediate access to a qualified workforce, electricity costs, and the availability of electric power. Ohio’s incentive package did include lower lease rates and electric power costs in addition to help with supplementing labor costs as well as a reduction in property taxes.
McDaniel said the city continues to be one of the most attractive locations for investment in southeast Michigan because of its location and business climate.
“We have easy access to M-59 and I-75,” said McDaniel. “This is a great thing for us. Our city council has created a great business climate over many, many years. We are about 80 to 85 percent commercial versus residential. From that standpoint, our city forefathers set the groundwork to be a very business-friendly environment. We put everything we have on the table to retain and recruit and allow corporations to expand and succeed.”
The company, which already employs 130 people in Michigan, said jobs created by this new investment will include line operators, factory managers and engineers.