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PHOTO: (from left to right) Spring Hill Mayor Rick Graham, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and Faurecia North America President Donald Hampton cut the ribbon during the opening ceremony Friday. / Photo by Alexander Willis

By ALEXANDER WILLIS

Faurecia, one of the largest auto parts manufacturers in the world, celebrated the grand opening of its latest plant in Spring Hill Friday afternoon with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, with both the Spring Hill and Maury County mayors participating in the ceremony.

With more than 300 plants and 30 research and development facilities across the globe, Faurecia supplies auto parts to some of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers, such as Ford, BMW and General Motors (GM), including parts for the new Cadillac XT6, which is manufactured in Spring Hill.

Spring Hill city staff, Mayors Rick Graham and Andy Ogles, and dozens of Faurecia staff gathered in the new facility Friday, where Plant Manager Petri Du Plessis would make some opening remarks.

“This has been a tremendous journey for us; one year ago, we were standing here and it was just a green field,” Plessis said. “In just a little bit more than ten months, we were able to build this beautiful facility; 146,000 square feet, and we’ve managed to launch our programs with General Motors at the same time.”

Hailing from Cape Town, South Africa, Plessis has worked with Faurecia for over 17 years. Thanking the Maury County government, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and GM, Plessis especially stressed his thanks to the new employees of the Spring Hill plant.

“The fantastic team of Spring Hill; 200 women and men working in this facility, I cannot be more proud of you guys getting us where we are today,” Plessis said. “This is a fantastic team, every day showing the commitment to both good quality parts on time for our customer. I said to them early on in the year, there is a saying that Nelson Mandela once said: ‘it always seems impossible until it’s done’ – I think we can say now guys, it’s done.”

Plessis said he had been wary of using any third-party hiring firms, and instead handled recruitment directly, interviewing roughly 70% of the 200 plant staff himself. With starting wages at $15 an hour, Faurecia’s new plant runs three shifts, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Plessis also noted the plant was still hiring for multiple positions, from maintenance to engineering roles.

Spring Hill Mayor Graham also spoke at the ceremony, thanking Faurecia for their significant investment into the city, calling the new plant “a gem for Spring Hill.”

“This is another GM spin off, and each of these just add and contribute to our city with each one that comes in, and I cannot thank Faurecia enough for your investment in choosing Spring Hill in this endeavor,” Graham said. “One of the great things about the company is the cutting-edge technology; they’re doing a lot of the work for autonomous vehicles. [That] scares me a little bit because we have not even figured out how to use blinkers yet, but that kind of technology being created right here in Maury County in Spring Hill is just huge.”

President of Faurecia operations in North America, Donald Hampton, also spoke at the event, calling the Spring Hill Plant “the best facility that Faurecia has worldwide.”

What started as a mystery project only known as project “Field of Dreams” more than a year ago is now a state of the art, 146,000-square-foot facility, further exhibiting the economic growth created by the GM plant that began in Spring Hill nearly 30 years ago.

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