Kia supplier Hanil E-Hwa to create 173 jobs

Automotive parts manufacturer Hanil E-Hwa has plans to locate a new facility in LaGrange and hire 173 workers over the next three years, officials announced Thursday.

The Kia supplier will move into an existing facility in Troup County, close to the Kia plant, and begin production in October. The Seoul, Korea-based business is expected to invest about $8.45 million in the project.

“West Georgia and Troup County is a strategic location for our company, allowing greater access to one of our primary customers, Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia,” Yang Suk Ryu, a Hanil E-Hwa representative, said in a statement. “We’re excited to expand our U.S. operations, and take advantage of the highly-skilled workforce in this region to create meaningful opportunities in this community and better serve our customers.”

Hanil E-Hwa produces and sells automotive interior parts like door trim, seats, shelf covering, package trays and head lining. For Kia, it manufactures wheel caps, painted interior door parts and door trim.

The company will move into a 178,000-square-foot facility formerly occupied by Emerson Network Power, which closed its doors and laid off about 180 workers at the beginning of this year.

Page Estes, president of the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce, said they are “ecstatic” about the manufacturing company’s arrival.

“We have such a rich history of manufacturing that goes back decades,” Estes said. “Manufacturing is just a part of our culture. It’s really woven into the fabric of the community.”

Estes said they hope to take manufacturing to new heights with Kia and its suppliers. At the same time, she said she hopes their workforce can also attract a variety of other companies.

The announcement comes about a month after another Kia supplier, Dae Ha America Corp., said it planned to build a new $7.45 million facility in LaGrange and hire about 44 workers over two years. Dae Ha manufactures plastic pellets that are used to make auto parts. The company, in fact, will serve as a supplier to Hanil E-Hwa, said Jane Fryer, executive director of the Development Authority of LaGrange.

Dae Ha will break ground in about three weeks. The 53,000-square-foot facility should be operating by the end of the year, Fryer said.