Denso expansion at Athens to create 320 automotive jobs

Denso will add four production lines to its auto parts plant at Athens, Tennessee, creating 320 jobs.

The $190 million project follows a $1 billion expansion announced in September at Denso’s nearby Maryville factory.

The Japanese manufacturer announced the Athens project Wednesday.

“This investment strengthens one of our key production centers. Athens has played a major role producing and supplying our customers with key components in fuel delivery, ignition, and exhaust gas systems,” Hugh Cantrell, Denso Athens director of administrative services, said in a statement released by the company.

Denso produces parts for Chrysler, General Motors, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Subaru and Toyota. It is considered Toyota’s largest supplier.

Denso Athens will make gasoline direct injection injectors and a low pressure fuel pump on two of the new lines. Two other lines will make high pressure fuel pumps. The plant currently employs 1,417 workers.

In Maryville, the expansion will ramp up output of electrification and safety components. It is expected to add 1,000 jobs, raising Denso employment at the facility near Knoxville to about 5,000.

Denso Corp. employs about 140,000 workers worldwide and reported sales last year totaling $40 billion. The company traces to the origins of the Toyota Motor Corp.

 When the Toyota Loom Co. created a separate division to make automobiles in the 1930s, a unit was founded to manufacture auto parts including ignition coils, starters and radiators. The unit was named Nippodenso when it was spun off in 1949 by Toyota as a separate company. The name, which means Japanese electrical equipment, later was shortened to Denso.

In the statement released Wednesday, William Hagerty, U.S. ambassador to Japan, was quoted saying the Athens project represents “another strong example of the deep strategic and economic ties between Japan and the U.S. America is open for business!”

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Ted Evanoff

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Published March 2, 2018