Neaton Auto Products Manufacturing Inc. plans to invest $15 million in an expansion at its Eaton, Ohio, facility to meet growing customer demand. The project is expected to create 70 new jobs.
The Tier 1 auto parts supplier made the announcement Sept. 10 during Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's business development mission to Japan. DeWine, along with representatives from economic development agencies JobsOhio and the Dayton Development Coalition, met with leadership from Neaton's Japanese parent company Nihon Plast Co. Ltd. during the business trip to Japan.
"For 35 years, the hardworking people of Preble County have inspired the growth of Neaton Auto Products. Our new expansion is a testament to these associates," David Gulling, executive vice president of Neaton, said in a statement.
"We would like to thank the City of Eaton leadership and Preble County Development Partnership for being advocates for our community. Gov. DeWine, through JobsOhio, has made sure Japanese-based companies feel welcome doing business here," he added.
Japan was Ohio's fifth-largest export market for the Midwestern state's products in 2018, with companies exporting more than $1.67 billion worth of products to Japan that year, according to the Dayton Development Coalition.
Representatives from Neaton and the coalition did not respond to requests for comment.
Neaton, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nihon Plast, supplies interior and exterior plastic parts to automakers such as Honda, Nissan and Toyota. Parts include steering wheels, airbag modules, instrument panels, cluster bezels, ventilators, cup holders, glove boxes, consoles, and a wide array of interior and exterior trim parts.
The company has injection molding — with presses ranging in size from 65-3,000 tons, according to its website — as well as vacuum forming, blown film lines and die casting. It also does assembly, painting, laser trim and vibration welding.
So far, there have been four expansions at the Eaton plant, where the company is also headquartered. Neaton has additional manufacturing operations in Rome, Ga., and Querétaro, Mexico.
Neaton is No. 26 on Plastics News' annual ranking of North American injection molders, with 2018 sales estimated at $325 million. In Eaton, the company employs about 800.
Parent company Nihon Plast is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In 2018, it reported sales of 114.7 billion Japanese yen ($1.06 billion).