By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia
A Lavonia industry is expanding.
Last Thursday, Kautex officials announced the company will add another 95,000 square feet of warehouse space to its existing plant on Highway 17 South in what amounts to a $3.3 million investment.
Kautex is a subsidiary of Textron, Inc., based in Bonn, Germany, and is considered one of the top 100 automotive suppliers worldwide.
The company is a leading global supplier of plastic fuel tank systems, selective catalytic reduction systems and clear vision systems with 15 plants worldwide.
In Lavonia, they manufacture fuel systems for major automakers, including GM, BMW, Daimler-Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, and Mercedes Benz.
Kautex Director of Operations Tyler Miles said the expansion is to accommodate a new product line called SCR Systems for diesel trucks and vehicles.
“What this tank does is it holds a urea fluid,” Miles said. “And the urea ejects into the catalytic converter for diesel systems. It mixes with the nitrus oxide and when those two fluid meet, instead of emitting carbon into the atmosphere, it’s water.”
Miles said that means emissions for diesel fueled cars and trucks are dramatically reduced.
He added that the SCR System will be installed not only in diesel trucks but also in diesel powered vehicles.
“We’re starting to do VW small products,” he said. “We’re doing the Golf, the Jetta, the Passat. So significant growth in the smaller vehicle segment as well. We are the only plant in North America that provides this technology to our customers.”
Georgia Commissioner of Economic Development Chris Carr also attended last week’s announcement.
Carr noted that last year Site Selection Magazine named Georgia the number one state in the nation to do business.
“Today we’re here to congratulate Kautex for their exciting announcement and for the contribution of Lavonia and FranklinCounty to the State of Georgia,” Carr said.
Kautex first opened in Lavonia in 1993 with 20 employees and made one product for the automotive industry, a window fluid system.
In 2003, the company expanded into the fuel system segment of the industry and added a 20,000 square foot facility to their existing building.
The company plans to open the new addition this spring.