ldor Corp. of Orsenigo, Italy, will spend $75 million to build its first U.S. auto parts plant, in Botetourt County, Virginia, to supply ignition parts to automakers in North America.
Although the company will hire 350 local employees, it intends to create a highly automated production system, according to CEO Pasquale Forte, who founded Eldor in 1972.
Eldor officials are referring to their planned manufacturing model as a "defect-free" environment with a heavy reliance on robotics. The company hopes to introduce the concept to its other plants around the world once the U.S. project is completed late next year.
The company operates plants in Italy, China, Turkey and Brazil.
It is one of the leading suppliers of vehicle ignition coil units in Europe, where it estimates it has a 50 percent market share for that component segment. It is also a growing player in electronic controls for combustion control there.
But the company has been mostly absent from North America until now.
"North America is an important market, and we have to be here to work with U.S. carmakers, as well as others who are here, like Toyota and Nissan," Forte told Automotive News. "We are working with all of them now."