The North American division of Spain-based car components manufacturer Grupo Antolin has committed to opening a new facility in Kansas City, Missouri, with capital investments worth $15.7m. The 14,000-square-metre manufacturing facility will primarily supply Ford’s Kansas City assembly plant and is expected to create 118 jobs. 

According to Christopher Chung, president and CEO of development agency Missouri Partnership, state governor Jay Nixon played a key role in landing the project. “Grupo Antolin had considered expanding an existing company operation in Kentucky as well as a new location in Kansas,” Mr Chung said. A meeting at the Center for Automotive Research Conference earlier this year enabled the governor to convince the company’s North American president Max Rogers to locate the project in the Midwestern state. "Missouri's friendly corporate climate and close proximity to major automakers put us in a position to better serve our clients and continue to grow," said Mr Rogers.

According to economic development organisation Missouri Partnership, the industry contributes almost $2.6bn to the state’s economy and represents the fourth biggest goods-producing sector. More than 46,000 Missourians are employed in transportation equipment manufacturing, accounting for almost 19% of the state’s total manufacturing employment. Export statistics from the US International Trade Administration reveal that Canada remains a top importer of Missouri transportation equipment with almost $1.7bn-worth, followed by South Korea ($380m) and Saudi Arabia ($213m).

Grupo Antolin’s investment decision is the latest in a string of automotive investments into Missouri in 2013. Earlier in the year, Chinese-based auto components maker Yanfeng USA committed to constructing a 24,000-square-metre manufacturing plant, creating 263 jobs. Additionally, Ford publicised the third production shift expansion of its Kansas City plant, adding another 900 jobs. The governor announced that the state will continue to create jobs “with balanced budgets and strategic investments in our workforce” and that “[his administration] will keep this industry growing and our economy moving forward”.

The automotive industry has traditionally been one of the most significant aspects of the Missourian economy, reflecting a long history of skilled workers and manufacturers in the state. The industry is also one of the largest employers in the US as a whole, and is currently the largest manufactured goods export sector, supporting US economic recovery.