News and Tribune

Business/Money

February 5, 2014

UPDATE: Swiss auto supplier says it will bring 220 jobs to River Ridge

Autoneum will lease a 300,000-square-foot facility from developer

JEFFERSONVILLE — Another major company is joining the ranks of the ever-expanding River Ridge Commerce Center.

Automotive supplier Autoneum announced plans Wednesday to locate at River Ridge, bringing with it plans for 220 new jobs by 2018. The Switzerland-based manufacturing company — which specializes in vehicle acoustic and thermal management systems — will move into a 300,000-square-foot facility just north of the Catamaran Corp. building along Ind. 62.

“We are excited to announce this new facility and to become a part of the Jeffersonville and Southern Indiana communities,” Martin Hirzel, CEO of Autoneum, said in a press release.

The company has begun hiring for engineering and managerial positions and will hire manufacturing employees at the end of the year for an expected January 2015 opening. The average employee wage will be about $19 an hour, according to multiple sources.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said the announcement shows that River Ridge is an important part of the city’s economy.

“This is great news because not only is it creating new jobs in Jeff, but we’re not out there chasing minimum wage jobs,” he said. “This is a huge company.”

Paul Wheatley, director of marketing and finance at River Ridge, said the site choice “makes a lot of sense.”

“We’re right on the I-65 automotive alley,” Wheatley said. “Indiana’s tax structure and River Ridge’s land and connectivity makes us a very attractive location.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Autoneum North America up to $2 million in conditional tax credits, meaning that the company won’t receive these benefits until they hire employees. The River Ridge Development Authority also granted a property tax abatement as an additional incentive to locate in Southern Indiana.

Autoneum is River Ridge’s first Tier 1 automotive supplier, meaning the parts it manufactures are sent directly to automakers.  Indiana and Kentucky are home to several auto manufacturing plants, including Ford in Louisville, Toyota in Princeton and Georgetown, Ky., and Honda in Greensburg.

“This project is a major triumph for Southern Indiana and a good example of the resurgence of the automotive industry,” said Wendy Dant Chesser, president and CEO of One Southern Indiana, in the press release. “Autoneum is precisely the type of long-term, job-creating employer we want to attract to our area.”

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