July 16, 2003 - Posted at: 10:10 a.m. CDT
OSCEOLA, Ark. -- Japan-based DENSO Corporation announced Wednesday that it will build a manufacturing facility in Osceola, Ark., to produce car air conditioners and heavy equipment radiators for its North American customers. Construction of the more than 217,000-square-foot facility is expected to begin at the end of the month.
At full production in 2008, DENSO expects to employ 500 people. DENSOs investment in the new operation will total $35 million.
"Not only will there be more jobs in Mississippi County because of DENSO, but better jobs, long-lasting jobs that won't come and go," said Gov. Mike Huckabee. "This is a solid company with an incredible record and a wonderful future ahead of it, and that future is going to include several hundred Arkansas families."
Osceola resident Jerry Brown considers the future plant a blessing. "It will help the economy a lot, there's a lot of people without jobs that need work bad," said Brown.
"This is a great day for Arkansas, especially the Delta region of our state," said Huckabee. "We're thrilled that one of the top companies in the world has determined our state fits its needs. Weve had some good news in Arkansas recently, such as being honored for having the No. 1 business climate in the South. This announcement proves that designation is correct. We welcome DENSO and look forward to a long, prosperous partnership."
The new company DENSO Manufacturing Arkansas Inc. (DMAR) will be DENSOs 23rd manufacturing facility in North America. Production of heavy equipment radiators is scheduled to begin in October 2004, and production of car air conditioners will begin in January 2005.
DENSO Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Koichi Fukaya said, "We are experiencing exceptional business growth in the thermal product division. By establishing the sixth thermal company in North America, we will continue to maintain the top global market share of air conditioning products. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to build a southern base to further meet our customer needs in the region."
DENSO promoted Jerry McGuire, previously vice president of DENSO Manufacturing Michigan Inc., in Battle Creek, to president of the new company. McGuire has more than 30 years experience in logistics, facility engineering, manufacturing and plant construction management.
Well be able to ship Arkansas-made components directly to our customers to support their expanding auto production in the region, McGuire said. We believe the relationship between DENSO Manufacturing Arkansas and Osceola will be mutually beneficial, and we look forward to being a part of the Osceola community.
Jim Pickens, director of the Arkansas Department of Economic Development, said, DENSO is a respected international company with exceptionally high standards. Its presence will unquestionably be a positive addition in eastern Arkansas. Their choice of location is certainly a tribute to the dedicated, hard-working people in this region of the state.
"I'm convinced that Mississippi County's prime location along the Mississippi River and Interstate 55 will attract even more large manufacturing facilities in the years to come," Huckabee said. "I'm especially proud to see such a huge economic success story for the Delta region of our state. DENSO is one of the top companies in the world, and we went up against tough competition in the battle to land this plant. DENSO employs 90,000 people in 31 countries. Obviously, company officials could have located the facility anywhere. But they chose Arkansas.
"Announcements such as the one today put us on the radar screens of business executives and site location experts around the world," Huckabee added. "They see that companies such as DENSO have realized that Arkansas is a fantastic place to do business and has an exceptional quality of life for employees. We've had a great deal of good news lately... Jonesboro, meanwhile, is now recognized among the nation's top locations for food processing facilities. When Nestle USA announced two years ago it was bringing more than 1,000 jobs to Jonesboro, it was the world's largest site location decision by a food processor that year.