DURA Automotive Comes to the Shoals

DURA Automotive Systems is building a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Muscle Shoals that will make electric vehicle battery enclosures. The $59 million, 200,000-square-foot facility will create 279 direct jobs.

“This investment represents DURA’s commitment to support global customers in the transition to electrified, high-performance vehicles,” said Kimberly Rodriguez, DURA CEO. “We are delighted to extend our well-established European expertise in design and manufacturing of lightweight structural architectures to the North American market.”

Construction inside the facility is expected to be complete in April 2021. The plant will house advanced robots, along with proprietary forming and joining technologies to create lightweight structures including those used for electric vehicle battery systems.

“I’m very excited to see DURA Automotive Systems make a significant investment in Alabama and create career opportunities for our hard-working citizens in the Shoals,” said Governor Kay Ivey.

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DURA plans to invest $59 million in manufacturing equipment and to lease an existing building in the Shoals Research Airpark from the Shoals Economic Development Authority (SEDA).

In 2019, SEDA invested $3 million on the pad and shell for the speculative building as part of its long-term economic development strategy. SEDA has agreed to partner with DURA on an $11.5 million expansion and build-out of the structure’s interior.

“This project is the culmination of a lot of hard work and vision from our community leadership,” said SEDA President Kevin Jackson. “They had the forethought to invest in infrastructure and assets to allow the Shoals to compete for projects on a global scale. It’s because of them and the exceptional workforce of the Shoals that today is possible.”

Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford welcomed DURA’s investment in his city. “I am thankful our community has invested in the necessary infrastructure to make a deal like this possible. Through the pandemic, we continue to strive for economic development and good jobs, and this announcement delivers on both,” Bradford said.

DURA, a MiddleGround Capital Co., is a global automotive supplier specializing in design, engineering and manufacturing of solutions that drive the evolution of mobility. The new Muscle Shoals facility is the latest investment by DURA in support of vehicle technology transformation towards electrification. In 2020, DURA launched its latest lightweight structural systems plant in the Czech Republic. In 2021, it will launch an additional site in the Republic of Macedonia to produce lightweight exterior systems, plus a third European site.

“DURA Automotive Systems’ decision to locate its EV battery tray manufacturing facility in Muscle Shoals reflects the expanding capabilities of the automotive supply chain for electric vehicle production in Alabama,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “Our auto industry is focused on the future and will continue to adapt to meet all challenges.”

DURA’s lightweight aluminum battery trays include integrated cooling systems. The modules are precision manufactured and sealed to safely encapsulate components of the battery, control systems and monitoring electronics. Each battery tray design is custom engineered and manufactured specific to an automaker’s performance objectives. The company has been producing lightweight aluminum architectures for vehicles since 1990.

Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, DURA has 6,700 employees worldwide and operates 31 facilities in 13 countries.

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