Gov. Jay Nixon today joined local officials and company leaders from Maxion Wheels, formerly Hayes Lemmerz, a global leader in steel wheel manufacturing, to celebrate 35 years of operation in Sedalia. This anniversary comes as parent company Iochpe-Maxion establishes its presence in the United States through the acquisition of Hayes Lemmerz International, which includes the Sedalia wheel facility.

“This company has played a significant role in Sedalia’s economy for decades, providing jobs for hundreds of Missourians,” Gov. Nixon said. “My administration has made revitalizing Missouri’s automotive industry a top priority, so I am very proud to celebrate this milestone for this company and this community.  I congratulate Maxion Wheels for its success and appreciate its continued commitment to this community and its workers.”

The Hayes Lemmerz facility, which manufactures steel wheels for passenger cars and light trucks, began operating in Sedalia in 1978.  Hayes Lemmerz International was recently acquired by Iochpe-Maxion.  The company is now known as Maxion Wheels and is the largest wheel manufacturer in the world. The company now has 24 locations in 15 countries. Through its acquisition of Hayes Lemmerz, Iochpe-Maxion has been able to extend its global presence, increase production, and grow the company.

In 2012, Gov. Nixon led a trade mission to Brazil, where he and a delegation including State Senator Mike Parson, whose district includes the Sedalia area, met with senior leadership of Iochpe-Maxion to discuss growth opportunities for this outstanding global company in Missouri.

Since taking office, Gov. Nixon has made it a top priority of his administration to reenergize the Missouri automotive industry, which had experienced years of steady decline.

In the summer of 2010, the Governor called a special session of the General Assembly to pass the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, a package of strategic incentives to attract next-generation automotive manufacturing to the state.

As a result of these efforts, Missouri’s automotive manufacturing industry has rebounded.  In January 2011, Ford Motor Company committed to retaining the nearly 4,000 jobs at its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo.  In October of that year, Ford confirmed plans to invest $1.1 billion and create 1,600 new jobs at the facility as part of a historic expansion that includes construction of a new stamping plant and production of the Ford Transit Van – previously built only overseas.  And this past May, Ford announced that it would hire an additional 900 workers in Claycomo for a third shift of F-150 production.

In November of 2011, General Motors announced plans to create more than 1,600 jobs and invest $380 million to bring production of the newly-redesigned Colorado pickup to Wentzville and support demand for its existing vehicles.  This past June, GM announced an additional $133 million investment at the facility to add a third stamping press.

Missouri’s growing automotive industry has helped spark a parallel resurgence by automotive suppliers across the state.  In May, Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems, an industry leader in interior component supplies, announced plans for a $45 million facility that will create 263 new jobs in Riverside.  In June, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chrome-plated plastic auto parts, SRG Global, announced a $4.2 million capital investment in its plant in Portageville.  And Adrian Steel is constructing a new manufacturing plant in Kansas City to support Ford’s Claycomo Plant.  Just yesterday, Leggett & Platt, a manufacturer of seating components, announced a $5.1 million investment in its Carthage facility, a project expected to create 12 new jobs.

“Maxion Wheels has a proud past and bright future here in Missouri,” said Don Polk, Maxion Wheels President of the Americas. “Gov. Nixon and the State of Missouri have made the auto industry a top priority, and created a positive economic environment that has allowed us to grow.”

This press release was provided by the staff of Gov. Jay Nixon.

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