VTNA Supplier to Open North American HQ in Virginia
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A European component supplier to Volvo Trucks North America is locating its new North American headquarters near the vehicle maker’s production factory in Virginia’s New River Valley — a move that the state’s governor praised for bringing a jolt to the region’s business community.
Hagen, Germany-based STS Group will invest $32 million to revamp a former 200,000-square-foot General Electric building in the city of Salem, and will add 32,000 square feet of production space. Nearly 120 new jobs will be created, according to a release from the office of Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
STS makes composite-based components that include solid and flexible vehicle and aerodynamic trim, interior systems and lightweight construction and battery components for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, including electric vehicles. Examples include in-cabin storage, rear lamp modules, tailgates, roof spoilers and battery system covers. STS plans to have initial prototype components roll off the production line this year, with full manufacturing ramping up in January.
“Salem is a perfect base for STS Group to start its footprint in the U.S.A., following existing customers locally and extending the customer portfolio,” CEO Alberto Buniato said.
Youngkin added, “Operating as STS Group North America, the new facility will supply commercial truck assembly operations by Volvo Trucks in Pulaski County as well as other truck and automotive facilities throughout the Midwest and Southeastern U.S. markets.”
“Presence on the U.S. market is an important pillar of our growth strategy,” said Pietro Lardini, supervisory STS board member and CEO of STS controlling shareholder Adler Pelzer Group. “The U.S. market, as the second-largest truck market worldwide, offers sizable potential.”
STS already has 12 plants in four countries across three continents, focused on key regional markets across Europe, China and the Americas. Its main customers are automobile and commercial vehicle producers. The Volvo factory is located in Dublin, Va.
“Having suppliers located closer to the plant is good for Volvo Trucks in many ways, as we look for every possible avenue to shorten delivery distance and time traveled, which works to decarbonize our value chains,” said Sally Walker, communications director for VTNA’s New River Valley facility. “The closer proximity to the New River Valley Plant means a greater reduction in the carbon footprint involved in transporting products to the assembly operations.”
She noted having STS being geographically closer “increases the amount of in-person collaboration possible between the two entities” to help improve quality over time.
Virginia officials welcomed STS.
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“The GE facility has remained vacant since 2019 and will now be revived as a North American headquarters and manufacturing operation that complements the booming automotive cluster in the Roanoke region,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the city of Salem and the Roanoke Regional Partnership to capture the project for Virginia. Youngkin approved a $500,000 grant to help Salem land the deal.
“STS Group effectively adds a new product to the regional supply chain related to automotive and heavy truck manufacturing and further solidifies the regional value proposition for auto-related manufacturing,” said John Hull, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership.
Support for STS’ job training efforts will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program. Launched in 2019, the program boosts new facility startups through direct delivery of recruitment and training services customized to a company’s products, processes, equipment, standards and culture. All program services are provided at no cost to qualified new and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.
“Using creative and collaborative teamwork, STS has taken an available and strategically located facility in Salem and will create a well-positioned, state-of-the-art manufacturing space that will benefit all involved,” said Salem Mayor Renée Turk.