Expansion of Bartow County auto supplier to bring 150 new jobs

An Austrian auto supplier plans a $50 million expansion of its factory near Cartersville, adding 150 jobs, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Tuesday.

Voestalpine Automotive Body Parts currently operates a 100-employee plant about six miles north of Cartersville, in Bartow County, that makes metal parts for car bodies.

The expansion will boost that operation to about 250 employees, somewhat topping the company’s employment estimate when it first announced plans in 2012 to build the factory.

At the time, Voestalpine Metal Forming, part of Linz, Austria-based Voestalpine Group, said it was investing $62 million to build the plant, expected to employ 220 workers.

“Voestalpine’s decision to expand operations in Bartow County strengthens Georgia’s growing automotive industry and highlights the state’s extensive manufacturing capabilities,” said Deal Tuesday in a press release.

Several auto suppliers have built or expanded plants in Bartow County, just down the road from Volkswagen’s plant in Chattanooga. They include Dutch aluminum auto parts maker Constellium, Toyo Tire and T.I. Group Automotive, a maker of parts that handle automotive fluids.

Other auto assembly plants in the region include BMW’s factory in Greenville, S.C., and Kia’s factory in West Point, Ga.

The state did not immediately disclose what incentives, if any, were granted to the Voestalpine in connection with the expansion.

The state said the new jobs will range from assembly work to hot metal forming and advanced manufacturing jobs. The company also offers an apprenticeship program to train potential recruits at Bartow County College & Career Academy in Cartersville.

Philipp Schulz, managing director of the Voestalpine plant, said the expansion is “an important step in the growth strategy of our company in the U.S. and positions us well in the center of the southern automotive hub.”

He thanked the Georgia Department of Economic Development “for their assistance in this project,” but didn’t elaborate.