Mid-Michigan auto supplier is preparing for the future - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Mid-Michigan auto supplier is preparing for the future

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(3/15/12) - The largest private employer in Saginaw County could be hiring even more people.
N0exteer Automotive is upgrading its equipment to produce the next generation of steering systems.

Electricians are preparing the wiring in Plant 3 at the Nexteer facilities in Buena Vista Township. Machinery will be installed soon to make electronic power steering systems for GM full-size pickups and other vehicles.

"We're bringing equipment, $150 million of investment that we're going to be doing in next 12 months," said Sergio Rodriguez, Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer - Saginaw Division of Nexteer Automotive.

Electronic power steering, or EPS, is growing in popularity among automakers.

"Electronic power steering provides better fuel economy. It's a better fit for the vehicle. The handling of the vehicle offers much better control," Rodriguez said.

Nexteer has hired 600 people in the past 15 months. The new EPS program means more workers could be needed.

"We're looking forward in the next 12 months to continue hiring for this project," Rodriguez said.

Nearly 4,000 are employed at this Nexteer plant, building steering systems and axles for GM, Ford and Chrysler. Nexteer is a subsidiary of a Chinese investment company, Pacific Century Motors.

When Nexteer took over operations here in December 2010, the auto industry was at a low point. Since that time, Nexteer sales have improved 10 percent.

"At this time right now orders from our customers are at a peak level. We're experiencing very high demand from the customers," Rodriguez said.

Nexteer can trace its roots back to 1906 and has long term contracts with automakers through 2018. With the investments being made today, the company feels it can steer its way around any obstacles the worldwide auto industry puts in its path.

For more information on Nexteer Automotive, click here.

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