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The auto industry is currently in a tough spot with the UAW union strike, but assuming automakers eventually find a solution to agree upon, the market is shifting. Many automakers are working on a new lineup of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and signing agreements with third-party companies to make it happen. In 2022, Stellantis entered a joint venture with Samsung SDI to build a BEV battery production plant in the United States. In 2023, it expanded the agreement to build another BEV battery facility in the U.S. Now, in September 2023, Samsung is expanding its factories in suburban Detroit to support the company's fast-growing lithium-ion battery business.
Samsung SDI America Inc., which has its North American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, will be adding to its 628 employees with the new expansion. With plans to add 368 jobs with the expansion, the company expects to double its manufacturing capacity with the addition of a second production line. Thanks to a $5 million performance-based grant approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund board and an investment of more than $2.5 billion by Stellantis – with the possibility of increasing up to $3.1 billion – Samsung SDI and Stellantis have plans to build a 34-gigawatt hour battery factory, expected to launch the factory in 2025. Furthermore, the project by Samsung SDI received a$10 million MEDC grant and a 6-mill State Education Tax abatement.
That’s a lot of money to put towards the new BEV battery facilities. On the other hand, although Samsung SDI and Stellantis have plants, it would seem that Samsung also wants to carve out its own path. The facilities between Stellantis and Samsung SDI have been set up in Kokomo, Indiana, but Samsung also wants to focus on its own expansion. That grant approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund board helped Samsung secure its funding instead of sinking all of its money into the investment with Stellantis in Kokomo. The company wants to expand and get a greater foothold in America.
"Additionally, the Company is considering further expansions in the Midwest United States to broaden their footprint…[the grant] will help address the cost disadvantage of locating the project in Michigan when compared to the competing sites." – according to a briefing memo from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Even so, Stellantis’ Dare Forward 2030 business strategy has secured its own plans with Samsung SDI. Back in early 2022, just about every major automaker and automotive group announced plans to enter the market and release new BEVs. Amongst them was Stellantis, aiming to produce 75 BEVs over the next six years, with 25 models heading towards the states. During this year’s Chicago Auto Show (2023), we got a better look at the Ram 1500 Revolution concept, and the Dodge Hornet recently released the R/T and R/T Plus trims of the model, marking the Hornet as the first official plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) from the muscle car automaker.
As the industry continues to change, we’re going to see a lot more BEVs, and that means companies will have to secure more funding to create facilities that can create the very energy sources those BEVs will need. Hopefully, automakers can find an agreement to end the UAW union strike and get back to producing the future of automobiles. As always, we’ll keep tabs on it and report on updates as they come.
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Photo Source/Copyright: Stellantis/Samsung