Magna International Inc. will build an electric vehicle battery component plant in St. Clair, Mich., to produce structural battery enclosures using composites, steel and aluminum for a General Motors Co. electric SUV.
The 345,000-square-foot plant is expected to employ 304 and is supported by a $1.5 million grant from the state of Michigan, or more than $4,900 per qualified job.
The planned investment is the result of a new eight-year contract win to produce structural battery enclosures, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. said in a memo. The components are specifically for the 2022 GMC Hummer EV, Magna confirmed in a press release. The steel, aluminum and composite enclosures are designed to protect the electric batteries from water and other damage.
"Bringing this new battery enclosure technology to market is another example of Magna's ability to deliver a full-system solution to automakers supporting their focus on a lower emissions future," said John Farrell, president of Cosma International, Magna's body and chassis group. "The move toward electrification allows us to rethink what is possible and demonstrate how we can leverage our core strengths to continue bringing customers innovative solutions that help them meet their goals, no matter how challenging."
The plant will operate under the Magna Electric Vehicle Structures – Michigan Inc. subsidiary established in 2012.
The jobs created at the plant will pay $17-$48 per hour with an average wage of $27 per hour, the MEDC said in the memo. The jobs include welding engineers, administrative assistant, skilled trades technicians, operators and various plant management.
The city of St. Clair is expected to support the project through a property tax abatement and St. Clair Community College will provide free training for employers via the Michigan New Jobs Training Program.
The new jobs will be a welcome sign for St. Clair County, which was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic recession. Of the state's 83 counties, St. Clair County had the fifth worst unemployment rate in December at 9.8 percent, according to data from Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.
"This investment by Magna will create great jobs for our state's talented workforce as we continue to implement our Michigan Back to Work plan to get Michiganders back on their feet," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a press release. "This announcement reaffirms Michigan is transforming along with the automotive industry to ensure the next generation of mobility and electrification is designed, developed, tested, and built right here in our state."
In addition to its composites operations, Magna, based in Aurora, Ontario, is No. 37 in the most recent ranking of injection molders in North America by Plastics News with $265 million in sales in the region.