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Auto supplier investing $8.45M for HQ, tech lab in Novi

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors plans to invest $8.45 million to build a new technical center and move its southeast Michigan headquarters from Plymouth to Novi.

The auto interiors supplier plans to open the facility later this year in a former Detroit Medical Center building at 41935 W. 12 Mile, according to Yanfeng spokeswoman Debra Ortisi. She said about 280 employees are expected to move to the building from locations in Plymouth and Harrison Township.

“This will be a state-of-the-art facility and a very collaborative environment for our employees,” Ortisi told The Detroit News on Thursday. “We think this move is very exciting for our employees and we’re looking forward to relocating.”

About 60 jobs will be created by the move and investment over the next couple of years, she said. The jobs will be technical positions, and posted at as they become available. The company has more than 80 open positions in Michigan, according to the site.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp., which announced the plans Wednesday, said the state was in competition for the investment — particularly for the tech center — with another one of the company’s facilities in Queretaro, Mexico.

The MEDC awarded the company a $600,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant for the investment, partially to help the company offset the increased costs associated with creating these jobs in Michigan, according to state officials.

Yanfeng is a supplier of instrument panels and cockpit systems, door panels, floor consoles, overhead consoles, lighting and decorative trim. It employs more than 30,000 people at about 100 manufacturing plants and technical centers in 18 countries. About 1,300 of those employees are located at 11 facilities in Michigan.

The company was formed in 2015 as a joint venture between Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems Co. Ltd. and Adient, which was spun off from Johnson Controls last year into its own auto seating and interiors business.

The headquarters move comes after Plymouth-based Adient recently announced plans to move its headquarters to downtown Detroit.

Ortisi said Yanfeng’s move is separate from Adient’s decision. She said the company decided on the new location because of its proximity to freeways and customers as well as being centrally located for employees moving to the facility from Plymouth and Harrison Township.

The company’s plant in Harrison Township will remain open, with about 80 technical employees moving to the new facility.

Yanfeng’s plans were announced by the MEDC with other performance-based grants of $300,000 for Kerkstra Precast Inc. and $228,000 for Speedrack Products Group Ltd.

Kerkstra, a concrete supplier, has acquired a large customer and plans to expand its facility in Trenton, investing more than $16.2 million and creating 50 jobs.

Speedrack, a single source supplier of pallet racking and storage systems, plans to invest more than $5 million to expand its manufacturing capacity and plans by the purchase of a facility in the city of Litchfield in Hillsdale County. It plans to add 38 jobs as a result of the investment.

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Twitter: @MikeWayland