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Martinrea to Expand R&D in Michigan


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Martinrea International Inc., a Toronto-based metal forming and fluid systems parts supplier, is building a technical center in Auburn Hills, Mich.

The 108,000-sq-ft facility will consolidate the staff of two smaller buildings the company currently operates in Auburn Hills and nearby Troy, Mich., when it opens next summer. The center initially will house 160 employees—including more than 50 engineers—and is expected to create 60 additional jobs in the future.

Martinrea is investing $7 million in the project, which will be supported by a $420,000 performance-based grant from Michigan and an eight-year property tax abatement valued at $852,000 from Auburn Hills.

The company expects to better focus its research activities and strengthen customer relations by consolidating its Michigan engineering and sales teams into a single facility. The tech center will focus on lightweighting systems, including integrating aluminum and high-strength steel components.

Formed in 2002, Martinrea posted sales of nearly C$3.9 billion ($3 billion) last year, up 7.5% from 2014. Much of the company’s growth has come from acquiring and turning around the assets of struggling metal-working suppliers such as the North American body and chassis operations of ThyssenKrupp Budd in 2006, SKD Automotive in 2009 and Germany’s Honsel AG in 2011.

Through the Honsel acquisition, about one-fourth of Martinrea’s business now is derived from aluminum parts. The company expects to double its aluminum business over the next five years as carmakers increasingly use the material in structural applications to reduce vehicle weight.

Martinrea employs 14,000 people at 44 facilities worldwide, including sites in North and South America, Europe and Asia. The company claims to be the second-largest metal former and third-largest supplier of fluid management systems in North America.

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