Mayor and Governor welcome new facility to East Bottoms

Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
May 21, 2014

Mayor Sly James speaks at the ribbon cutting of the new Grupo Antolin manufacturing facility in the East Bottoms of Kansas City.

Mayor Sly James speaks at the ribbon cutting of the new Grupo Antolin manufacturing facility in the East Bottoms of Kansas City.

KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Mayor Sly James joked that the governor is visiting Kansas City, Mo., so much recently with job announcements, that he’s going to start making mix tapes for his drive back to Jefferson City.

Gov. Jar Nixon’s latest visit was Wednesday afternoon, as he and the mayor were joined by officials representing Grupo Antolin as they cut the ribbon to a new manufacturing facility in the East Bottoms, at 1601 Southern Road. The new, $18 million, 148,000 square foot facility will create 118 new jobs over the next two years as it houses high-tech manufacturing equipment to produce customized headliners for Ford’s new, Missouri made, Transit van.

In November of 2013, Nixon announced Grupo Antolin North America’s plan to invest in a new automotive manufacturing facility to supply Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo. The new facility allows the company to be closer to its customers as well as increase production capacity to 3,500-4,000 headliners a day. The company projects that by 2016, all vehicles manufactured in Missouri will feature headliners produced by the Kansas City facility.

“Since we first announced Grupo coming to Missouri, the company has already hired over 50 employees,” Nixon said, adding that investment is a huge win for the community.

Headquartered in Spain, Grupo Antolin is an international automotive supplier with over 100 manufacturing plants and 22 offices in 25 countries, including nine facilities in the United States. The company designs, manufactures, and supplies automotive overhead systems, interior trim and door functions, ambient and functional lighting products, lighting consoles and seat functions for major auto manufacturers worldwide, including Ford and General Motors.

Max Rogers, President of Grupo Antolin North America, said the Spain-based company is honored to open a new facility in Kansas City. He said the company is extremely proud of what has been created so far and plans to continue to grow in the Kansas City community.

“Thank you for the support and confidence in us,” Rogers said. “What you see here is just the beginning.”

Rogers said the company chose Kansas City because of the proximity to the Claycomo plant. With a number of its top customers — including Ford and General Motors — in the area, Kansas City was the “right business environment” for a facility.

The mayor pointed out at the beginning of his speech that Kansas City has a rich automotive history. But, he added, the times have changed. He said with companies like Grupo Antolin and the governor’s hard work to bring more jobs to Missouri, Kansas City is positioning itself to be part of the comeback of the automotive industry.

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