published Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Nissin Brake in North Georgia expanding, adding jobs

Tonya Stricklin assembles and checks the quality of brake components at Nissin Brake Georgia Inc. in this 2007 file photo.
Tonya Stricklin assembles and checks the quality of brake components at Nissin Brake Georgia Inc. in this 2007 file photo.
Photo by Angela Lewis /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

LAFAYETTE, Ga. — A North Georgia factory that's already working around the clock to make car and golf cart parts is expanding.

Nissin Brake Georgia, Inc., is finishing a 50,000-square-foot expansion and adding 30 new jobs at its Rock Spring, Ga., facility. That will bring the factory's total size to about 150,000 square feet and its workforce to 235 employees.

The Walker County Development Authority on Monday finalized an agreement under which Nissin will get a $1.8 million abatement on property taxes paid to schools and local government for eight years, development authority Executive Director Larry Brooks said.

Instead, Nissin will pay about $1.1 million in lieu of taxes to the development authority, he said, netting the manufacturer a tax savings of about $700,000.

"That's all they're really saving," Brooks said.

The factory is investing some $33 million in the addition, he said.

The plant mainly makes parts for three vehicles produced at Honda's Lincoln, Ala., assembly plant: the Honda Pilot and Acura MDX sport-utility vehicles and the Honda Odyssey minivan, plant manager Jim Owen said.

The aluminum die-cast parts that Nissin makes include disc brake components, steering knuckles and engine mount brackets, he said.

A smaller percentage of the plant's production is used in golf carts and all-terrain vehicles.

Owen said that Georgia is the nation's biggest manufacturer of golf cars, which he said is the industry's preferred term for golf carts. Nissin sells parts used in E-Z Go, Yamaha, and Club Car golf cars.

The Nissin plant is equipped with an aluminum foundry that has a melting furnace capable of processing 5,500 pounds of aluminum per hour, Owen said.

"We melt our own aluminum," he said.

Nissin has three shifts working around the clock, Owen said. Wages start at $12.75 an hour and range up to $20 an hour, he said.

The equipment in the new addition is ready to go, Owen said.

"All the equipment's installed and functioning," he said. "We just haven't started mass production."

Nissin Brake is a Japanese-based company that also has plants in Ohio, Brazil and Mexico.

Contact staff writer Tim Omarzu at tomarzu@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6651.

about Tim Omarzu...

Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.

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