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Li-ion maker A123 Systems to build HQ complex in Michigan, shrink US cell manufacturing

A123 Systems LLC, a developer and manufacturer of advanced lithium-ion batteries and systems, plans to spend $40 million to build a new headquarters complex in Novi, Michigan. The 32-acre company-owned site will house all corporate functions, an engineering center, new laboratory space and a manufacturing plant.

The new 150,000 square foot campus will replace A123’s leased space in Livonia and Romulus, Michigan. As part of adapting facilities to align with A123 Systems’ business in the US, the company will consolidate US manufacturing operations into a smaller site on the new campus. This will impact approximately 200 manufacturing jobs at the company’s current locations in Livonia and Romulus, Michigan.

We are making a commitment to a continued significant presence in Michigan, in proximity to the skilled and experienced talent here. This new complex meets future needs by becoming our epicenter of engineering. It will allow us to grow our engineering workforce and bring testing inside, that has previously been done outside the company. In addition to our corporate staff and our engineering group, we will maintain manufacturing capability for systems assembly to meet the demands of the US marketplace as they continue to evolve.

—Jason Forcier, Chief Executive Officer of A123 Systems

Forcier told Crain’s Detroit Business that while the current Romulus plant has a production capacity of 4 million cells, it is producing fewer than 1 million annually.

“The Romulus campus just isn’t need[ed] anymore as there isn’t any sustainable volumes in the North America market,” Forcier said. “The North American market just hasn’t taken off (for electric vehicles) like they have in China and Europe.”

The company expects that its payroll will surpass its current level by $10 million annually by the end of 2019. The primary driver of this net payroll growth will be the company’s expanding engineering staff and testing capabilities with the new Michigan site.

The expanded engineering center announced today will continue to lead the development of new low voltage products for the growing global markets. Production for these products will be located in close proximity to customers, including the new Novi manufacturing facility, the recently announced facility in Ostrava, Czech Republic and the ongoing expansion at the company’s Hangzhou, China campus.

The company expects to begin construction in the third quarter of 2017 and begin to move into the new Michigan complex by the end of 2018.



If they keep their quality up they could be on the list of suppliers.

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