New manufacturing plant bringing 200 jobs to Lewisburg

Friday, June 16, 2017
State and local leaders welcomed the Minth Group to Lewisburg on Tuesday. The China-based auto parts manufacturer announced plans to open a manufacturing plant in the city, investing $13.2 million and creating 200 new jobs. Pictured from left are State Representative Rick Tillis, Lewisburg Mayor Jim Bingham, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Minth Group Chief Operating Officer Jimmy Chen, General Manager Howard Wu, and Marshall County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett.
Tribune Photo by Scott Pearson

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Chief Operating Officer of the Minth Group Jimmy Chen announced the location of a new manufacturing plant in Lewisburg.

The China-based auto parts manufacturer is purchasing a 125,000-square-foot facility in Lewisburg for the production of automotive trim, as well as warehousing of components from other Minth locations.

The initial plans for the site include 200 new jobs in the city and a total capital investment of $13.2 million.

“This site is very important to the company,” said Chen.

Chen said that the company had searched for another manufacturing location in the U.S. for the past two years.

After looking in Michigan and Indiana, Chen, who has a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Auburn University, suggested his team look to the southeastern region.

Minth narrowed their search to Lewisburg and another site in the Huntsville, Ala., area, before deciding on Marshall County.

The company made a site visit to Lewisburg three or four months ago and liked what they saw.

The existing facility and the quality of the community tipped the decision to the Lewisburg site.

“The team here really made a difference,” said Chen. “The team was very professional.”

Several speakers at the welcome ceremony highlighted the roles played by Lewisburg Director of Economic Development Greg Lowe, the state ECD office, the Tennessee Valley Authority economic development office, and local utilities made in securing the decision.

“We’ve made the recruitment of international companies a major focus of our economic development efforts,” said Haslam in a statement, “and I’m pleased to welcome yet another strong international company with a proven track record to Tennessee.”

Founded just over 20 years ago, the Minth Group has quickly become one of the largest parts suppliers in the automotive industry, doing business with each of the 11 largest car manufacturers who represent 80 percent of the world’s production.

Chen said that today up to 70 percent of any trim on BMW or Daimler cars are produced by Minth.

When the company established their first American plant in Michigan in 2007, company revenues were $100 million, Chen said. For 2017, revenues are expected to top $1.8 billion.

“We are late to come to the US,” said Chen, “but we are ready.”

Lewisburg is the company’s 41st production facility worldwide.

The facility on Childress Road in the Lewisburg Industrial Park was originally constructed to house a seat supplier for Saturn.

Most recently, the site housed Ditech, a propane tank refurbisher, until the Canadian company contracted their U.S. operations.

City and county officials were pleased with the addition of another sizable manufacturer to the area.

“It’s always good when the Governor comes and makes an announcement in your community,” said Lewisburg Director of Economic Development Greg Lowe.