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Published: Wednesday, 10/28/2009

Auto-parts plant's expansion creates 124 more jobs

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

A North Toledo factory that supplies components to automobile and other manufacturers is undergoing a $17.5 million expansion that will result in the company hiring 124 workers in early 2010.

Magna Exteriors and Interiors, a division of Canadian-based auto supply giant Magna International Inc., is undergoing the expansion of its 177,000-square-foot Toledo Engineered Automotive Modular Systems facility in the North Cross Industrial Park to allow the plant to handle additional work, Toledo city officials said yesterday.

The new work will be making injection-molded parts for appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. and for the AutoAlliance International Inc. plant in Flat Rock, Mich., city economic development officials said.

The plant also makes components for Chrysler Group LLC's Toledo Jeep Assembly complex.

City and state economic development officials put together a package of tax credits, abatements, and incentives valued at more than $930,000 to entice the company to call back 126 workers who have been laid off since December, 2008, and add 124 workers to its payroll by April 1, 2010. More than half the incentive package was provided by the city of Toledo.

The plant has 264 employees, including those called back, but the new hires will bring the plant up to 388 workers. Hiring will be done after Jan. 1 through The Source, Lucas County's one-stop shop for employment services, which can be reached at 419-213-5627.

The jobs will pay an average of $13.46 an hour for assembly workers and $19.46 an hour for skilled-trades workers, city officials said.

Kevin Wickenheiser, general manager for the Magna plant, said in a statement that the "combined support of the city and the state allows us to grow our existing business while at the same time capitalize on new business opportunities."

Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner said the city's economic development team and representatives from Toledo Edison have been working with plant representatives for more than 14 months to make the expansion happen. The expansion efforts were delayed by the downturn in the economy and the collapse of the auto industry last year, Don Monroe, senior development specialist for the city, said.

Mr. Monroe and Mr. Finkbeiner said the company chose to expand its Toledo facility because of its proximity to Whirlpool facilities in northwest Ohio and the AutoAlliance plant in Flat Rock.

Most of the physical changes needed for the new work can be done without expanding the Magna plant, a company spokesman said.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at:

lvellequette@theblade.com

or 419-724-6091.



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