Denso spends $1 billion on U.S. factory

BloombergCHICAGO (Bloomberg) — Denso Corp. is placing a $1 billion bet that the U.S. auto sector’s future is electric.

The parts supplier said Friday it will invest that much to expand its factory in Maryville, Tenn., to make components for electrified, connected and self-driving cars. The parts will supply customers including major shareholder Toyota Motor Corp., plus Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and their Detroit rivals, said Bill Foy, senior vice president of engineering for Denso International America.

The expanded facility will become one of the largest automotive component factories in North America at a time when EVs with autonomous and connected features are entering high-volume output for the first time. Parts to be made on the expanded production lines will include things like radar sensors for self-driving and data control modules that connect moving vehicles to the internet, allowing manufacturers to send over-the-air software updates — modern new additions that are seen becoming standard features in the near future.

“We are positioning ourselves to ensure that we contribute to society both in zero accidents and in minimal impact on the environment,”Foy said.

The Maryville investment will add about 1,000 jobs, bringing the full-time total to 4,600, Foy said. The spending is on top of a $400 million investment announced for Maryville in 2015.

Toyota Group owns 38.1 percent of Denso, according to Bloomberg data, and also buys more components from the Kariya, Japan-based supplier than from anyone else. Still, about 60 percent of Denso’s North American revenue comes from automakers other than Toyota, Foy said.Speech

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