Akebono Brake Corp. has announced plans for an $82 million expansion of its Clarksville, Tenn., location. The expansion will bring an additional 94 jobs to the area.
The expansion effort was the result of a partnership between the City of Clarksville, the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board, the Aspire Foundation and the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association.
“I am honored to be working with Akebono on their upcoming expansion and assisting with their growth in our community,” said Kay Drew, chairman of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board. “This announcement is another example of the positive results we gain from having our Economic Development Council, Industrial Board and Aspire Foundation working closely with our City and County leadership to not only recruit new jobs for our community but also to support the growth of our current corporate partners.”
“I am very pleased to announce Akebono’s continued investment in our Clarksville facility,” said Tammy Francesckina, the Clarksville plant manager. “This investment allows us to improve our manufacturing processes, increase our depth of manufacturing, and offer our customers a more diversified product portfolio. The planned expansion will certainly have a positive impact for both our customers and our community.
In September 2012, Clarksville representatives including Kay Drew and James Chavez, president and CEO of the city-county EDC, along with Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, chief of staff, Charlie Koon and Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers, attended the Japan-U.S. Southeast Association (SEUS) meeting held in Tokyo. During the trip, funded by the privately held Aspire Foundation, a special meeting was scheduled with the Akebono team, including Chairman, President and CEO Hisataka Nobumoto, and Executive Vice President Yoshimasa Ogino, to discuss their future plans for expansion in the North American market. Upon returning to the United States, the discussion continued. A meeting to discuss possible incentives was held between Akebono executives and representatives of the IDB, Tennessee Economic and Community Development and Tennessee Valley Authority.
“This announcement makes a major statement about our exceptional workforce and our ability to do business with, and support the growth of, our existing industries,” said Chavez. “We are extremely pleased that Akebono has chosen to grow in our business community.”
This will be the second expansion for Akebono in Clarksville-Montgomery County. The plant, which is located inside the Corporate Business Park, has been in production since 1989. Akebono acquired the plant from Robert Bosch LLC at the end of 2009 and promptly announced plans to expand the facility. That expansion was completed in 2011.
This newest expansion will take place in two phases, spanning across 2013 and into the second quarter of 2014, and includes construction of an on-site warehouse and installation of specialized furnaces during phase one and the addition of new equipment and machines in phase two. Upon completion of this expansion, Akebono will be capable of caliper machining, plating and assembly, a process it has not been able to do at its Clarksville facility in the past.
Akebono is slated to have the new warehouse operational in April 2013. It is projected that one-third of the approximately 94 new jobs will be filled in the spring of 2013 and the remaining will be filled by mid-2014.
Akebono manufactures a wide range of brake friction materials and foundation brake assemblies, including disc brake calipers and drum brakes, employing the Akebono Production System (APS). The Clarksville location serves automotive customers including GM, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Ford and Chrysler, and currently employees 503 people. Annual sales at the Clarksville location during 2012 were estimated to be $435 million.
“This announcement means the creation of good paying jobs for the people of Clarksville-Montgomery County,” said Mike Evans, executive director of the IDB. “This expansion will have a long-term positive effect on not only the Corporate Business Park, but the community as well.”