Nexteer Automotive will invest almost $70 million and eventually hire 325 more workers at its Saginaw headquarters to fulfill a new contract with an unidentified automaker.
Nexteer, which is owned by a Chinese holding company named Pacific Century Motors, supplies electric power steering technology. It was formerly known as Delphi’s Saginaw Steering business. Pacific Century bought it from General Motors in 2010.
It employs about 9,800 people worldwide, with factories and research centers in about 20 countries.
“With our continued focus on innovation and customer focused steering solutions, Nexteer continues to diversify its customer base,” said Laurent Bresson, president and CEO at Nexteer. “Rapid adaption of electric power steering is a direct result of automakers striving to meet new fuel economy regulations.”
The new investment will be spent in 2014 to upgrade and expand Nexteer’s development, manufacturing and test capabilities. This includes modernizing the plant infrastructure and investing in high-tech, new manufacturing machinery and equipment.
“The new contract was sourced to our Saginaw operations for two reasons; first, we have a cost-competitive operation,” Bresson said. “Second, power steering systems are very complex components that require advanced manufacturing processes.”
The company’s 12-volt system was an industry breakthrough and has led to record new business bookings over the past couple years. By the end of 2014, 90% of new fullsize trucks in North America will be equipped with Nexteer’s 12-volt systems.
Nexteer’s strong relationships and close collaboration with the UAW, community leaders and local and state government have allowed the Saginaw site to remain competitive and be in a position tosecure this new customer contract,” said Mike Gannon, chief operating officer of Nexteer’s Saginaw division. “These contracts run through 2022 and provide long-term security and stability for the Saginaw site.”
Last October Nexteer announced a $150 million investment and new long-term contract with General Motors for the company’s next-generation full-size truck program, which resulted in the retention of more than 1,000 jobs at the Saginaw site.
Kathryn Lynch-Morin, MLive.