Transmission maker expanding in Durham, Granville counties

rbutt@newsobserver.comNovember 4, 2013 

AWNC01-BZ-042210-RTW

AW North Carolina employee Vickey Hester inspects a valve body for a transmission at the AW plant in Durham, N.C. on Wednesday April 22, 2010.

ROBERT WILLETT — ROBERT WILLETT-rwillett@newsobserver.com

AW North Carolina, a Japanese-owned transmission maker, is expanding for the third time in two years as sales of Japanese automakers outpace sales of U.S. vehicles.

The Durham-based company announced Monday that it will add 56 new jobs at its facility in Treyburn Corporate Park, which currently houses about 2,000 employees. AW is pumping $112 million into the facility to create a new production line in 2015; that is largely driven by the needs for Toyota, the company’s spokesman said.

After competing with other sites in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Mexico for the expansion, Durham County has agreed to provide $900,000 in incentives if the company meets its hiring and investment targets. This is the first time the county has awarded state incentives for AW’s expansions.

AW also bought a building in Granville County, which was previously occupied by Flextronics, where it made Redbox rental kiosks before shifting production out of state earlier this year. AW plans to create 85 jobs there and invest $25 million over the next five years.

The Town of Butner, where the facility is located, will provide $312,500 in incentives, and Granville County will provide $742,500 for the same period.

“High-quality jobs with a great corporate company is what community desires,” said Edgar Smoak, chairman of the Granville County Commissioners. “We are extremely pleased that AW North Carolina has chosen Granville County for expansion.”

Japanese vehicles have became more competitive as their selling prices in the United States have been lowered by a weakened yen, which was part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies.

Toyota outsold General Motors in the first nine months this year. According to data from the companies, Toyota sold 7.41 million vehicles, while GM sold 7.25 million.

Toyota enjoyed strong sales across its lineup in October, including a 61 percent gain for RAV4 – a compact crossover SUV – and a 13 percent gain for Corolla compared to the same month last year, data from Motor Intelligence shows.

AW North Carolina, which came to Durham in 1998, makes automatic transmissions and components for Toyota’s Camry, Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma and other vehicles.

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