Calsonic reportedly moving some Shelbyville operations

Friday, June 29, 2018

Four months after Calsonic Kansei company officials asked for an $8 million break on their property taxes, the company is planning to move some of its Shelbyville operations to Mexico, a move that will result in the loss of 56 jobs at its plant on Stanley Boulevard.

The move is expected to be completed by February.

The company is Bedford County’s second largest employer with about 1,300 employees -- around 200 work in the headquarters office.

Subsidy requested

Calsonic Kansei officials asked for the tax subsidy in early March saying because the company’s headquarters building in Shelbyville is in need of renovation and it has been shopping around with various communities in Tennessee and elsewhere where it might move.

The city/county Industrial Development Committee made a subsidy offer to the company in March but has had no response from Calsonic-Kansei. The IDB would not reveal any specifics of the offer saying only that it was not what the company asked for but “was in line with incentives offered to other local industries.”

According to two employees at the factory, the company COO told them about the move at a “pre-shift” meeting recently.

Two lines closed

The two production lines being closed manufacture automotive air conditioning parts -- the evaporator line and the condenser line.

The plant in Mexico where the production is being moved is known by company employees as “Cal-Mex.”

At the meeting, according to employees who were there, the company COO “danced around” giving an answer when asked about the fate of the remaining production line that manufactures radiators. If the radiator line is shut down the facility will likely be shuttered. “Without that there’s nothing left,” the employee said.

The Stanley Boulevard facility employees around 200.

The Times-Gazette agreed to not name the employees.

No comments

The current COO of the company is listed as Eric Huch on the Calsonic Kansei of North America website. The Times-Gazette tried numerous times over the course of a week and a half to contact by phone and left voicemail messages for senior company officials, including CEO Bharat Vennapusa, Huch and Senior Vice President Matthew David Mulliniks. Officials who were also called repeatedly but had no voicemail service included CFO Shogo Nakashita and VP of Human Resources, Nancy Rice.

“We’ve been team players,” said one employee. “Some of us have planned to make careers out of this. We’ve given 100 percent but they’ve only given 60 percent at most.”

Tax abatements

According to a report developed by the State Comptroller’s Office, Bedford County’s Industrial Development Board, in 2016, was engaged in commercial property tax abatements valued at $41 million -- nearly 5 percent of the total property valuation of the county, including commercial and residential properties. The tax breaks applied to 15.3 percent of the county’s total commercial property valuations. The total property tax abated (not collected) was $1.8 million.