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January 4, 2010

Yutaka plant expansion could add 15 local jobs

CULLMAN — A new expansion at Alabama Cullman Yutaka Technology could add up to 15 jobs within the next year.

The expansion, which calls for a capital investment of $2.75 million, is because of the local Yutaka automobile plant expanding to produce a new automobile component.

Yutaka manufactures torque convertors, exhaust systems and other products for Honda Manufacturing of Alabama.

“We’ll be producing the exhaust system for the 2011 model of the Honda Odyssey,” plant vice-president Jim Willoby said. “We currently produce the exhaust systems for the Honda Ridgeline and Honda Pilot.”

The jobs that will be created by the expansion will be general labor positions, Willoby said.

Cullman Economic Development Director Peggy Smith said this is a positive sign for the local economy.

“This certainly gives us encouragement, and this is great news for Yutaka and great news for Cullman,” she said. “We have many strong industries in the area and have weathered the economic storms. Our industries are the best resource we have, and we value the jobs they create.”

The City of Cullman has approved a tax abatement for Yutaka — not including education taxes — to add new equipment needed for the expansion.

Cullman Mayor Max Townson said the project should be a small catalyst for the local economy.

“They are going to add some jobs to the area,” he said. “This is a good thing, because it shows their business is strong.”

City council president Garlan Gudger Jr. agreed the announcement comes at a perfect time, considering the current economic slump.

“This is really just a positive all around,” he said.

Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at trentm@cullmantimes.com, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 225.

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