Area Development
Automotive has long anchored U.S. manufacturing and continues to attract billions in FDI, especially in the Southeast. It's not just traditional car building either - big automotive projects also include green, alternatively powered vehicles. Dozens of new plants and expansions across the United States are energizing communities by creating thousands of new, good-paying jobs.

In Kentucky, for example, economic development tripled in 2010-2011. Vehicle manufacturing led the way, including some large FDI projects. In Louisville, French company Faurecia Interior Systems is investing about $33 million for a plant that will employ 425 workers. Other FDI automotive projects in the state are ZF Steering Systems ($95.8 million, 374 jobs) and Metalsa Structural Products ($25.1 million, 668 jobs). Hitachi Automotive also plans to spend $74.5 million for a plant in Berea to manufacture electric drive motors for next-generation electric and hybrid electric vehicles, creating 130 jobs. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority provided Hitachi with $4 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment Program.

Ohio has also been successful in landing foreign automotive projects. Canada-based Vehtek Systems is investing $100 million to expand its facility in Bowling Green. In the southern part of the state, Japan-based USUI International Corporation is constructing a $15.9 million plant in Sharonville to produce tubing for gas direct injection systems. The 120,000-square-foot facility will employ 180 people by 2013. Incentives include an enterprise zone tax benefit and 15-year tax exemption on identified project improvements.

Not all foreign automotive investment is in the Southeast or mid-central United States - locations in the West can still compete. Most recently, thanks to its green focus and high-tech prowess, Los Angeles was recently selected for the headquarters of environmentally friendly Chinese car and battery maker BYD. The move will create about 150 new engineering and management jobs.