LG Hausys building auto skin factory in U.S.

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LG Hausys building auto skin factory in U.S.

LG Hausys, Korea’s largest industrial materials manufacturer, said yesterday that it started building an auto skin production plant in the United States in a bid to expand its presence in the world’s second-largest auto market.

The affiliate of LG Group said yesterday it will invest $40 million to build the auto skin plant in Adairsville, Georgia, and it will be completed by the end of next year. Auto skins are the internal surface materials used for car seats, door panels and dashboards.

The new 9,000-square-meter (96,875-square-feet) plant will be located next to LG Hausys’s “HI-MACS” plant, which produces acrylic solid surface products.

LG Hausys said that the new plant will be fully operational in 2016 wit an annual production of 6 million square meters of auto skin materials. The company plans to supply to major automakers in North America, including Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, General Motors and Chrysler.

“After the global financial crisis, automobile production in North America is growing and since it is expected to see more growth, we decided to build another plant in the United States,” the company said in a release.

LG Hausys, which currently ranks third in the global auto skin industry, has two production sites: in Ulsan, Korea, and Tianjin, China. The company has been trying to become a leader in the market with the world’s first eco-friendly auto skins made from biomaterials.

LG Hausys has already tapped into the U.S. market with its construction materials business after completing its HI-MACS plant in 2004 and Viatera (engineered quartz) facility in 2011, but the company hopes the automobile materials plant will enhance its image as a materials producer with advanced technology.

“Since the establishment of LG Hausys America, engineered quartz and acrylic solid surfaces have grown well,” said President Oh Jang-soo at the groundbreaking ceremony on Monday in Georgia. “Now with the new addition of an auto skin production plant, delivering products and services of even higher quality to our consumers and ultimately leading the North American market will be our top priority.”

By JOO KYUNG-DON [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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