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Valeo North America Inc. plans to create 290 jobs as it builds a low-speed test track and new building in Auburn Hills, and also improve its Troy headquarters, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. said Wednesday.

The nearly $5 million project has been awarded a $1 million state performance-based grant. Troy and Auburn Hills also are supporting the project in various ways including with staff time, marketing help and tax abatements, according to the MEDC.

Valeo North America is a subsidiary of Paris-based Valeo SA, an automotive technology supplier that produces clutch and transmission components, electrical components and engine-cooling, wiper, lighting and climate control systems.

The company started in Michigan in the 1980s and also has a facility in Highland Park. It participates in a joint venture with The Piston Group's Detroit Thermal Systems, with a location in Romulus.

The MEDC says Valeo chose Michigan for the development and jobs over competing sites in Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi and Mexico. It currently has more than 1,000 employees in Michigan.

The Valeo project is among four that the Michigan Strategic Fund approved grants for. The MEDC says those companies are investing $76.8 million and creating 555 jobs in southeast Michigan. Other projects include:

■Kingfa Science & Technology (USA) Inc., a subsidiary of a Chinese company, researches, develops and makes modified plastic products. It plans to expand manufacturing in Canton Township, investing $60 million and creating 150 jobs. It will receive a $1 million state performance-based grant.

■Macomb Smoked Meats in Macomb Township, which makes jerky and smoked meat snacks for Colorado-based Thanasi Foods LLC and other customers, is growing. It plans to invest $2.8 million and add an adjacent production facility, creating 75 jobs. It received a $250,000 performance-based grant from the state.

■ABB Inc., a subsidiary of Zurich-based ABB Group that provides power and automation technologies, will invest $9.1 million in equipment and robotic production at a facility in Auburn Hills, creating 40 jobs. It will receive a $250,000 state performance-based grant.

mburden@detroitnews.com

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