Honda Parts Maker Invests $42M in Shelburne

April 30, 2014
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Exciting things are happening in Shelburne. With the Neighbourhoods of Summerhill well into construction and recent news that KTH Shelburne Manufacturing is expanding their plant – spring is blooming!

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By: Chris Halliday

The largest employer in Dufferin County is about to swell its claim to that title even further.

On Monday (April 14), auto parts manufacturer, KTH Shelburne Manufacturing, announced its intention to build a 54,000-square foot expansion onto its plant.

The about $42 million investment — $35 million worth of new equipment and $7.5 million for the expansion — is expected to usher in 30 new job openings at the plant. There is a chance that could expand to 45 jobs, according to Shane Hall, KTH vice-president and plant manager.

“Right now, the number we’re giving is 30,” he said with the loud sound of the plant’s 2,500-ton presses going off in the background. “It could balloon to 45.”

Shelburne Mayor Ed Crewson was elated to hear that KTH had decided to invest in Shelburne at a time when investing dollars in the automotive manufacturing sector has waned considerably.

Referring to a report published by the Odette School of Business at the University of Windsor, Crewson said of the $17.6 billion invested in the sector worldwide in 2013, none of it came to Canada.

“The decision by KTH to expand this plant in Shelburne, in Ontario, in Canada, is indeed a blessing,” Crewson said. “KTH has brought life and warmth into the lives of our people in this winter that never seems to end.”

For those 30 new positions, Crewson estimates an economic spinoff of 60 jobs being added to the community. That’s not too bad for such a rapidly growing municipality, he explained.

“We’re going to have 60 new jobs created by this new investment today,” Crewson said. “It’ll profoundly improve the lives of the people in this community, by giving them futures here in Shelburne.”

With a current workforce of 425 employees, KTH is the largest employer in Dufferin County. The auto parts manufacturer has been producing automotive frame components for Honda since July of 1998.

“We do the frame sub assemblies. So the entire bottom of the vehicle and the platform,” Hall explained. “Everything builds up from what we do. Without the parts we make, you can’t have a car.”

Throughout the years, the Shelburne-based manufacturer’s products have been used to build the Honda Odyssey, Pilot, Ridgeline, Civic and CRV, as well as the Acura CSX, MDX and ZDX models.

It currently builds 15 varying frame component variations for both the Honda Civic and CVR. When the expansion is complete, that number will rise to 22.

“We’ve actually been able to get seven additional challenge comps,” Hall said. “Parts that we were not making before that we’ll be making moving forward.”

The plant manufacturers an average of about 1,750 car sets per day, Hall added. That number will hover around the same level when the 54,000-square foot expansion to the west side of the plant is complete.

The expansion is being built to accommodate a new 400-ton press will allow KTH to make some of the parts it requires in house, rather than purchase and ship them in from the United States.

“Right now, we’re purchasing parts from the US supply base, so now we will be able to make those in Canada,” Hall said. “From our perspective, we’re much more efficient at making parts than, sorry, our American counterparts.”

It’s anticipated the addition will be complete by mid-October, with the equipment being installed in November. Hall said mass production in the new expansion should begin in August of 2015.

“We’re here to celebrate another milestone,” said Dufferin Warden Bill Hill, referring to KTH’s history in Shelburne. “They’ve provided very good jobs for an awful lot of people and are very, very conscious of their impact on the community.”

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