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Lebanon auto supplier to make $100M investment, expand

By Chelsey Levingston - Staff Writer



Auto parts supplier ADVICS Manufacturing Ohio Inc. of Lebanon plans to invest $100 million in a building expansion and new equipment, the company’s single largest investment in its 25-year history in Warren County, company officials tell this newspaper.

Leaders of ADVICS Manufacturing, which makes brake components, expect the project to be complete by the end of 2015. Approximately 100 new jobs will be added during the next two years.

“It’s a huge capital investment,” said Dave Bolton, vice president of human resources and general affairs for ADVICS North America Inc.

“It’s a huge commitment to this company. We’re proud of it because it’s a reward for working hard and doing the right things and (the parent company has) confidence this is the right place to put this business because they can put it anywhere in the world, they’re a global company,” Bolton said.

ADVICS’ local operations at 1650 Kingsview Drive, Lebanon, consist of the company’s North American headquarters, brake caliper plant and control products division plant. Altogether, ADVICS currently employs about 670 people here including those working in temporary positions. New hires could bring total employment above 700 employees.

At the Lebanon production facilities, employees machine castings and brackets for brake calipers, assemble the whole caliper, and coat brake parts to prevent rust. The control products division produces electronic stability control units, a computerized technology that helps prevent drivers from losing control of a car.

The estimated $100 million cost is being spent to expand the control division building, adding nearly 65,000-square-feet, according to city records. Most of the money is being spent to buy new, upgraded equipment to handle extra volume for the production of electronic stability control units, Bolton said. ADVICS won business from a new, undisclosed automaker customer.

“ADVICS is one of the original companies to develop in Kingsview Industrial Park and their corporate presence has fostered the attraction of new companies and investment to the area,” said Jason Millard, Lebanon economic development director, in an email. The auto supplier is the city’s largest private employer.

“Their continued success is significant to the Lebanon community and the region,” Millard said.

ADVICS is jointly-owned by four international companies: Toyota, Aisin, Denso Corp. and Sumitomo.

ADVICS North America (which owns the ADVICS Ohio business) operates other production facilities in Georgia to manufacture brake pads, and in Indiana to manufacture booster master cylinders and rear brakes. There is also a technical center in Michigan. The company’s combined operations in North America produce the whole brake caliper.

The Lebanon operations first opened in 1988 and supply major automakers including Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota.

Warren County’s largest advanced manufacturer, ADVICS has adjusted to the ups and downs of the auto industry. During the recent economic recession, the Lebanon company cut temporary workers, but never laid-off full-time employees.

“I think there’s so many companies that took the wrong path and our parent company decided that we would protect jobs and save talent. That means that we didn’t lay anybody off,” said Jeff Mefford, vice president of human resources for ADVICS Ohio.

“We had voluntary severance of people wanting to leave. We had some people that did that and we didn’t backfill jobs for a while, but if you wanted a job, we kept you here,” Mefford said.

“Also it helped the company, because once we came out of this, we were prepared to move forward and we had the talent there, so we weren’t scrambling to hire,” Mefford said.

As the auto industry has rebounded, ADVICS is one of several local auto suppliers that have been boosted by increasing vehicle sales.

U.S. auto sales have now climbed four consecutive years to 15.6 million vehicles sold in 2013, according to Autodata Corp. That was the most since 16.1 million passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2007. Analysts with consumer auto publication Kelley Blue Book predict U.S. auto sales this year will reach 16.3 million cars and light trucks sold.


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