Shift Changes: British automaker to set up shop in former Ford town
When a Ford assembly plant closed in Hazelwood, Missouri five years ago, locals worried that their community would never recover. Fortunately, three-year-old British auto maker Emerald Automotive—drawn to the city for its central location and highly skilled automotive workforce—plans to open a new manufacturing facility in this once booming manufacturing community.
The new factory will produce electric-hybrid commercial vans called the T-100, and will eventually lead to the creation of 581 new jobs in Hazelwood, and another 410 in supply facilities in Missouri, reports St. Louis Today. And while the new factory will create local jobs, the vans manufactured there will reduce local emissions: These high-tech hybrids get up to 475 miles per tank.
City officials are thrilled with Emerald Automotive’s decision to set up shop in Hazelwood, and hope that other companies will follow in their footsteps:
"This is good news for Hazelwood and all of St. Louis," Mayor Matthew Robinson said. "It's great that car manufacturing is coming back, especially after the closing of the Ford Plant (in 2006)."
In addition to location and workforce based incentives, Emerald Automotive was also drawn to Hazelwood because of the local legislature’s commitment to attracting and supporting manufacturing start-ups:
The city council unanimously passed a measure Wednesday to partner with the Missouri Technology Corporation, a state agency that provides funding to start-up projects in Missouri.
The two groups will provide $5 million in loans to Emerald Automotive for the project's start-up costs. Hazelwood will give $3 million out of its Economic Development Sales Tax while MTC will loan $2 million.
We applaud Emerald Automotive for selecting an American city as their manufacturing hub, and the town of Hazelwood for their dedication to keeping their local manufacturing base strong. Yet in order to recreate this same scenario in communities across the country, we must adopt a national manufacturing strategy that will help support our national industrial base and create American jobs.
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