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OPELIKA, AL-Benteler Automotive Corp. will beef up its North American presence with a 144,000-sf manufacturing facility to be built on a 38-acre site in the Northeast Opelika Industrial Park. Ground will be broken next month with delivery expected for September 2003.

The facility will support Michigan-based Benteler’s Southeast US customer base. Opelika was chosen for its central location. The area is gaining popularity as an automotive manufacturing region. Initial employment at the plant is estimated at 150 and could grow to as many as 300 workers over five years.

“Our new Opelika facility represents a major step forward for Benteler in North America, it not only expands our geographic reach, allowing us to be closer to our customers, but also will grow our capability and capacity as well,” states Walter Frankiewicz, President of Benteler Automotive North American Operations. “The technical orientation and proximity to Auburn University will make it a great location to support the needs of our growing business,” Frankiewicz adds.

Benteler selected Opelika from a 25-city roster of candidates in four southeastern states. According to state officials, Opelika is part of Alabama’s fastest growing Metropolitan Statistical Area and the 19th fastest growing MSA in the nation. “Alabama’s automotive sector continues to expand thanks to investments by global players such as Benteler Automotive,” states Todd Strange, Director of the Alabama Development Office.

“Alabama is, without question, a leader in the automotive manufacturing sector–in the southeast, in the nation, and around the world,” says Governor Don Siegelman. “Benteler brings to Alabama its reputation as a premiere supplier of automotive components and high quality jobs so hard working Alabamians can help their families obtain a better quality of life.”

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