Automotive component manufacturer GKN Driveline plans to add 302 manufacturing jobs in the state in exchange for $3.1 million in state financial incentives.
The British company, which employes 2,700 people in North Carolina, stands to receive the financial incentives over 12 years if it meets the hiring targets and invests at least $179 million over five years. GKN employs about 46,000 people worldwide at more than 40 sites and makes components for Honda, Ford, GM, Toyota, BMW and other automakers.
The company is expanding in North Carolina to meet increasing customer demand and also to supply drive trains for hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles being designed to meet higher efficiency standards.
The N.C. Department of Commerce announced earlier this week that GKN plans to add 159 jobs in assembly plants in Sanford, Mebane and Timberlake. The jobs in forming, machining, sub-assembly and final assembly will pay an average annual salary of $43,161, which is higher than the average annual wage in Lee, Alamance and Person counties. Those plants make components for all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive cars.
The company is eligible to receive up to $1.54 million in Job Development Investment Grants for creating those jobs. The company told the N.C. Department of Commerce that it was considering alternative sites in Mexico and Brazil.
GKN also plans to add 143 machining and assembly jobs with an average wage of $45,860 a year at its Maiden plant in Catawba County, where the average annual wage is $38,238. The company is eligible to receive up to $1.59 million in JDIG grants for these jobs. The Catawba plant makes gear boxes for all-wheel drive and hybrid cars.
Each of the four counties is kicking in additional incentives, said Chet Roslanowick, GKN’s vice-president for business development for the Americas Region. The N.C. community college system is also contributing with a $500,000 employee training program available in all four counties.
Roslanowick said about 250 of the jobs will be on the production floor and pay between $36,000 and $40,000 a year. He said about 50 of the new hires will be managers and supervisors, or in engineering and supply chain roles.
GKN was considering alternative sites in Ohio as well as Sweden, Japan and Mexico for those jobs. GNK opened its first North Carolina site in 1978 in Lee County.
GKN previously qualified for $5.3 million in JDIG grants. The company qualified in 2012 for creating 228 jobs in Catawba County, and twice in 2014 for creating 131 jobs in Person County and 105 in Lee County. To date, GKN has been paid $528,385 in state incentives.