Friday, January 3, 2014

Northville Township welcomes auto parts maker Aisin

International automotive parts manufacturer Aisin will move its local corporate headquarters and 245 employees from Plymouth Township to Northville Township.According to company officials, they have outgrown their 90,000-square-foot facility at Beck Road and M-14 in Plymouth Township. They have purchased a 172,000-square-foot industrial facility located at 15300 Centennial Drive (at Five Mile) in Northville Township, which was the former home of Maxion Wheels. The company, which formed in 1965 in Japan, will invest nearly $8 million in the facility, including both “brick and mortar” improvements to the building itself and the addition of property, largely in the form of high-tech equipment used for research and development.The Northville Township Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the creation of an industrial development district for two parcels on Centennial Drive, equaling 17.59 acres, which Aisin (pronounced “eye shin”) now owns. In addition, the township board approved eight-year tax abatements for both the business and personal property as an incentive to bring the company to Northville.Most of the property is already developed, although about five acres is vacant and could be developed later.Michael Lapinski, vice president of Human Resources-Sales Division and Corporate Communications, said the company expects to create an additional 51 jobs at the facility within the first 12 months after the company moves into the new facility.The new headquarters will house office space, product storage, as well as product testing and development.Paul Bohn, the township’s attorney who helped broker the tax abatement deal with Aisin, said the deal includes a binding agreement that stipulates Aisin must make the investments in both capital and job creation it is promising or it would lose the tax abatements.“They are bringing 240-some professional jobs to the community, plus an additional 51 jobs in the near future,” Bohn said. “And these are predominantly high-paying engineering positions.”The Michigan Economic Development Corp awarded the company a $1.2 million Michigan Business Development Program grant, largely based on the number of jobs the company promises to create at the new facility.Joe Rohatynski, who handles public relations for Aisin, said the goal is to move into the facility by the end of the first quarter in 2014. He said the company will move all its personnel from Plymouth to Northville Township so “we have everyone under one roof.” He said the company hopes to create the additional 51 jobs within the first 12-18 months after making the move.“This is wonderful news for our community,” said Northville Township Supervisor Bob Nix. “We’re really excited about the jobs that will be created right here in Northville Township.”In return for making the improvements and bringing the jobs into the community, the company will get tax relief over the eight years of the agreement. Without the abatements, the company would have to pay the township about $19,000 per year, most of which would be levied against the personal property at the facility. The abatements will cut their tax bill to the township roughly in half over the eight years.Aisin has facilities across the globe, including many in Japan. According to Lapinski, the company manufactures “a very wide range” of auto parts. Their biggest customer is Toyota, both in the U.S. and abroad. In the U.S., he said about 15 percent of their business is with General Motors and about 15 percent with Chrysler.The company has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, and this move is to keep up with customer demand, he said.“We had very exciting growth for years until 2009 when the recession hit,” said Lapinski, who lives in Northville. “But we are on a nice little recovery. We are experiencing record sales.”

By Kurt Kuban

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