EASLEY — YH America South Carolina LLC, a manufacturer of automotive components, today announced that the company will expand its existing operation in Pickens County. The $5.14 million investment is expected to generate 93 new jobs.
“Demand for our products continues to grow and we’re excited the new business is giving us an opportunity to expand in Pickens County,” said Christopher Estock, plant manager for YH America South Carolina. “South Carolina offers us a great business climate and top talent to meet our needs. We appreciate all the support we’ve received from state and local officials.”
YH America South Carolina manufactures automotive fluid handling components for the light vehicle industry in North America. The expansion will allow the company to increase capacity and improve efficiency at the Pickens County plant. The expansion is expected to be completed in 2012.
The increase in capacity is required to support a market strategy that will result in a planned sales growth of 30 percent in 2012. The investment required to support this growth is a combination of capital equipment and an increase of the plant’s square footage. In addition to YH America’s investment, Ford and Chrysler are also investing over $4 million in customer-owned tooling.
Automotive continues to be a leading sector in South Carolina. Commerce has been involved in recruiting more than $2 billion in investment and more than 3,500 jobs in the automotive-related sector since the beginning of the year.
YH America South Carolina, located at 109 Gillespie Drive in Easley, first opened the facility in May of 2009 after acquiring the business from Southfield, Mich. based Fluid Routing Solutions, and currently employs 480 local residents.
The YH America expansion is particularly important to the Pickens County community, as in 2007 Pickens County and South Carolina saved the operation from leaving Pickens County for Quebec, Canada. Following notification to Alliance Pickens that the Pickens County operation was going to be merged into a sister operation in Canada, the community and state quickly mobilized to convince the previous owners to keep the operation here, and instead, relocate the Canada operations here in 2007, which they did. Less than 18 months later, Yokohama Rubber Company Ltd. acquired the Pickens County operation and continues to grow the business.
“We are thrilled to be celebrating the expansion of YH America in Pickens County. Once again, our business-friendly community, our educational assets, and our dedicated workforce have allowed YH America to thrive and succeed in this difficult business climate, and despite the challenges that face many companies, YH America is expanding in Pickens County and we are glad to be able to support this business when it needed us,” stated Pickens County Council Chairwoman Jennifer Willis.
YH America is a leading supplier of power steering hose assemblies with manufacturing plants in Easley, S.C. as well as Versailles, Ky. and is supported by the Auburn Hills, Mich. technical center.
“YH America has long been a good community member and has weathered the difficulties of the automotive industry of the past several years by sticking to what they do well,” said Ronnie L. Booth, Ph.D., president of Tri-County Technical College and chairman of Alliance Pickens. “Some companies retreat in the face of adversity but we have seen YH America grow stronger and position themselves corporately and locally to take advantage of new opportunities. On behalf of the Alliance Pickens board, I am pleased to see, yet again, what can happen when we partner to do the right thing to not only keep, but grow jobs in our community.”
The company began hiring for the new positions in September. Anyone interested in job opportunities with the company should submit their resume to HRInfo@YHAmerica.com
. The position being applied for should be included in the subject field of the e-mail.
YH America serves the entire automotive industry with quality automotive power steering, air conditioning, and brake components and other related products. YH America also serves the heavy equipment industry with hydraulic components. YH America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. YRC operates globally in eight countries, employs 15,000 and realizes $3.5 billion in total annual sales. For more information about the company, please visit www.yhamerica.com
“We want to thank YH America for allowing South Carolina to continue to be a part of its overall business plan. We are committed to their continued success. This is a great day for Pickens County and for South Carolina,” said Gov. Nikki Haley.
“Today’s announcement builds upon our strength in automotive manufacturing and gives another boost to our reputation in the automotive sector. We congratulate YH America South Carolina on the company’s success in the Palmetto State,” said Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce.