An auto supplier in Laurens County is hiring after landing Honda as a customer, one of its executives said.
The Fukoku America plant in the Hunter Industrial Park off of Interstate 385 in Laurens is spending $13.9 million on new machinery to boost production of two plastic parts — constant-velocity (CV) joint boots and rack and pinion boots — said Ed Kershaw, senior manager for human resources.
He said the Japanese manufacturer plans to add 65 jobs over four years and has already filled 30 of them. The expansion will bring its total workforce to about 165.
Kershaw said Fukoku America’s business from existing customers such as Nexteer Automotive, a Tier 1 auto supplier, has been growing.
At the same time, he said, the plant is getting ready to supply Honda directly, making it a Tier 1 supplier for the first time.
The 15-year-old plant also makes brake diaphragms and radiator seals out of rubber.
Jonathan Coleman, executive director of the Laurens County Development Corp., the county’s economic development arm, said the expansion underscores the strength of the auto industry in the Upstate.
Kershaw said production workers at Fukoku America are paid between $12 and $20 an hour, with the exact rate depending on their skill levels.
The company will post openings on scworks.org, a website operated by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, as they become available, he said.