GREENFIELD — A Chinese auto-parts manufacturer plans to build in Hancock County, bringing 441 new jobs by 2021.

BeijingWest Industries Co., which designs and builds brake and suspension systems, announced plans Wednesday to construct its first production facility in the United States in Progress Park in Greenfield, closing a deal that’s been in the works for more than six months and marks one of the largest developments — in terms of jobs and investment — the city has seen in recent years.

The facility, 276,500 square feet, will be among the largest manufacturing facilities in Greenfield. By comparison, Elanco Animal Health — its neighbor to the east — occupies about 312,000 square feet.

The company will invest more than $80 million in the local facility, creating 440 new jobs paying an average salary of about $52,000 a year plus benefits, said Hancock Economic Development Council director Skip Kuker, who led negotiations with the company. In Hancock County, the average median household income is roughly $66,000, Census data shows.

The company plans to purchase 40 acres from a church in Florida that currently owns the land.

Kuker looks forward to adding to the county’s employments opportunities; Hancock County’s 3.9 percent jobless rate already beats the state’s 4.7 percent, data show.

Gregory Dronen of BWI told the Greenfield City Council Wednesday night the company already has plans to expand the facility in the future. By 2021, an expansion will likely be necessary, he said, and eventually, the local facility will employ 900-plus people, he said.

The company, headquartered in Beijing, manufactures automotive parts for 30-plus customers around the world, including Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Porsche.

BWI was formed in 2009 when the company bought United Kingdom-based Delphi Automotive’s brake and suspension business, which was a part of General Motors. Since then, the business has added 25 vehicle manufacturers to its customer base, doing $2 billion of new business last year, a news release states.

The business plans to break ground on the new building as soon as July, Kuker said. Production is expected begin in 2019, and the company will begin hiring machine operators, and maintenance and lab technicians in February, a news release states.

The state is considering $4.5 million in tax credits and $200,000 in training grants for the manufacturer based on its job creation plan, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation announced Wednesday.

Those state incentives are based on the company’s performance, meaning the tax credits won’t kick in until Hoosiers are hired.

The company plans to meet its job creation goals by 2021, Kuker said.

John Beres III, assistant president and global director of BWI, said the company is eager to work with state and Hancock County officials to bring the project to the area.

“This plant will expand our North American footprint to support our U.S. customer base,” Beres said in a news release.

With the local facility, BWI expects to increase its annual production by four million parts in order to meet what company officials say is growing customer demand.

The company — which employs nearly 5,000 people at 17 facilities around the world, including China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Poland and the United Kingdom — operates seven manufacturing operations and seven technical centers. One of those technical centers is located in Dayton, Ohio.

The company has also announced preliminary plans to partner with Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana to develop workforce training at the college’s campuses, a news release states. Further details of the partnership have not been disclosed.

Indiana is home to the second-largest automotive industry in the nation, Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a news release. More than 1 million cars are assembled in the state each year.

“BWI has options when deciding where to locate its first U.S. facility, and I’m thrilled they chose the Hoosier state,” Holcomb said.

By the numbers

BeijingWest Industries, Co., which designs and manufactures brake and suspension systems for automobiles, plans to build an $80 million facility in Greenfield’s Progress park.

The facility will create 441 new jobs by 2021.

Those jobs will pay an average of $52,000 a year plus benefits.

The company will invest roughly $51 million in equipment for the facility.

BWI will pay roughly $9.3 million in taxes during the next 10 years.

The city has preliminarily approved a $7.6 million tax break for the company over 10 years.

The state offered BWI $4.5 in tax credits, as well as $200,000 in training grants, provided the company meets job-creation goals.

About the company

A Chinese auto-parts maker has chosen Greenfield as the site of its first manufacturing plant in the United States.

BeijingWest Industries, headquartered in Beijing, has been in conversations with county officials for more than six months.

Two companies, Shougang Corp. and Beijing Fangshan State-Owned Asset Management, came together to form BWI in 2009; that year, they jointly purchased the brake and suspension business of United-Kingdom-based Delphi Automotive, which was once a part of General Motors.

BWI employs nearly 5,000 people at facilities around the world, including in China, the Czech Republic, France, Germany and Japan.

Auto companies served

BeijingWest Industries manufactures car parts for more than 30 customers. They include:

  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Ferrari
  • Ford
  • General Motors
  • Honda
  • Porsche
Author photo
Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.