The founder of Wuxi Gissing Auto Parts, known in his company as “Mr. Liú,” had a few unpopular views within China’s auto export-driven market of the 1990s.
According to Claudio Calado, the CEO of Gissing North America — the company’s New World subsidiary — Liú did not want to become just another auto manufacturer in a country striving for self-sufficiency.
He felt that his company could rise to new eminence as a supplier from and for manufacturers both at home and abroad.
“Mr. Liú had a vision,” Calado said during the Greenville Area Development Corp.’s 20th year anniversary. “He believed that it was not just important to be another manufacturer for the automotive industry, but more importantly, to be technologically-based and identify solutions for his customers. As such, he set up the company to be very much focused to the domestic market initially, and certainly, hindsight has proven them right. The group grew significantly after 2000 when a number of new plants expansions took place in Asia and culminated in the investment that was made back in 2016 in North America.”
Five years after its installation, Gissing North America will now establish its sixth U.S. facility as the first tenant in Greenville’s first Class A business park in 20 years.
“We believe Greenville will offer a quality of life that’s going to be certainly important for our associates and our team members that will be living and working in Greenville, certainly for the team members that will be traveling to Greenville as well,” Calado said.
The company, based in Bingham Farms, Mich., plans to invest $18.7 million in 135,000 square feet of Fox Hill Business Park’s 206,410-square-foot speculative building. The move is slated to create 116 jobs in the area.
“The city of Fountain Inn is excited to welcome Gissing North America to their new home in Fox Hill Business Park,” Fountain Inn Mayor G.P. McLeer said in a news release. “Their decision to create over 100 jobs in Fountain Inn is a testament to not only the economic health of our region, but also to Gissing’s recognition of how important a community is to their company’s location and values.”
The company services auto manufacturers like BMW, Ford, GM, Nissan, Toyota and Honda with acoustic solutions that reduce noise and vibrations in vehicles’ drivetrain, thermal, overhead, exterior cargo management and carpet systems.
Gissing’s investment will allow the company to produce overhead, interior, exterior and cargo management components.
“As we look to our expansion in the Southeast and into Greenville specifically, we will be focusing on those interior solutions for our customers and are very excited about the opportunity to do so in the near future,” he said. “Given the footprint that we currently have in North America, we certainly are able to cover and supply our customers from the Midwest. We also have a location in Mexico, so we thought that locating in the Southeast was very important.”
Brian Sudler of the Sudler Co., the developer of the Fox Hill Business Park, said his company is “elated” about the incoming company and spoke of the team effort required to recruit Gissing to the area.
Sudler also said during the meeting that with this momentum, construction has begun on a second speculative property in the park, a 300,000-square-foot industrial structure.
“We already have a lot of interest in this building,” he said.