All three Lake Martin auto suppliers thriving, expanding operationsPublished 4:07pm Monday, April 4, 2011
The Lake Martin area has seen a transformation over the years from textile-based manufacturing to more high-tech automobile manufacturing.
This shift has resulted in success for several local businesses that supply various parts to companies such as Hyundai, Kia, Mobis and General Motors.
Three companies – two located at the William T. Thweatt Industrial Park in Dadeville and one located at the Airport Industrial Park in Alexander City are reaping the benefits from this change in industrial identity.
Sejin America, KwangSung America and SL Alabama have all seen, or have announced, expansion since coming to the area.
KwangSung announced late last year its plan to expand to 200 employees by the end of 2010 and it has recently completed a $5 million expansion of its plant in Dadeville.
Sejin, or SJA, currently employs 340 people at its facility in Dadeville. The company stays busy supplying parts to Hyundai, Kia and Mobis Alabama.
“We supply mainly to Hyundai,” manager I.W. Kim said. “Eighty-five percent of our sales go to Hyundai.”
The plant produces interior trim, plastic parts, fixed quarter glass panels and spoilers, Kim said.
The company originally built a 102,000 square foot facility in Dadeville, but soon added to that. They added a 30,000 square foot expansion and later a 72,000 square foot expansion. The last of those three expansions was completed last October.
Kim said the company chose to locate to the area because of two main reasons: the close proximity to two major plants to which the company supplies parts and the availability of a skilled and experienced manufacturing workforce.
“We can find good, quality employees with pay that compares to metropolitan areas,” Kim said.
He also praised the solid support from Tallapoosa County in helping to make SJA’s decision to locate in Dadeville an easy one.
With manufacturing at the Hyundai plant in Montgomery expected to increase this year, the immediate future looks good for SJA.
“We may need to expand a little more,” Kim said.
SJA’s parent company was established in the late 1980s. They have an affiliate company that builds sailors’ quarters for ships.
SJA is led by Chairman Jong Yoon as well as President and CEO Seung Hwa Ahn.
SL Alabama was founded in July of 2003. It employs more than 700 people after two expansions.
The company, which is located in the Airport Industrial Park in Alexander City, makes head lamps and rear lamps for Hyundai, Chrysler and General Motors. More specifically the company produces lamps for the Hyundai Sonata, Santa Fe and Elantra. They produce the side mirror for the Kia Sorrento as well as head lamps for Chevrolet trucks and the Dodge Challenger.
SL Alabama’s parent company celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2004. It has offices in Korea, China and India as well as two other offices in America – one in Tennessee and one in Detroit.
SL’s President Jong Seob Kim said the company has recently seen an increase in business, largely due to the success of Hyundai. He says a large reason for the sales increase is due to the fact the Hyundai Sonata sold over 200,000 models last year.
~ Dale Liesch