Eldor Automotive Powertrain USA President and CEO Dr. Stefano Concezzi shows one of the products the company is working on and being tested in Europe. Eventually, it could be manufactured here, he said. YAPE is a self-driving home delivery system.
Photo by Ed McCoy

Local media had the opportunity to tour the new Eldor USA plant last Thursday at Botetourt Center at Greenfield prior to a private event that announced the beginning of manufacturing.

The Italian-owned company began production on the first of what is expected to be four assembly lines at the new state-of-the-art plant and the company’s United States headquarters the week before where it is manufacturing electronic ignition parts for automobiles.

The company already has 100 employees at the Daleville plant and within the next five years is expected to add another 250. The company also has about 20 employees at its sales headquarters in Michigan.

The company hosted a private celebration that included suppliers, customers and county and state officials. They also toured the facility and got to see the new robotics-driven, proprietary manufacturing process and displays about the history of the company.

Automotive Powertrain USA President and CEO Dr. Stefano Concezzi showed some of the new products the company is building at its other plants. They include a personal delivery vehicle and charging stations for electric cars.

The company expects to manufacture 150 million ignition system components each year at the new plant.

Company officials were particularly proud of the company’s record for quality manufacturing. Among the displays about the company was an award for the company not having a single product returned as defective one year.

The production line at the Greenfield plant is geared toward the same result.

It is fully automated and was designed and developed in-house, allowing the company to manufacture to the highest quality standards, a company spokesman said.

That production line is environmentally controlled and entirely encased in glass so temperature and humidity can be controlled at all times.

Cameras and lasers also check each component of the ignition system as it goes through the manufacturing process to be sure each finished product is perfect.

The 250,000-square-foot building was constructed for the future, as well. It will eventually house four assembly lines.

The company culture is also an important component of how Eldor does business, Concezzi explained.

The plant has a cafeteria with an in-house chef, an exercise facility, basketball court and spacious offices “to provide a positive work environment for personnel.”

Concezzi said Botetourt has proven to be a great place for the new operations. He said even his wife has found it inviting and she enjoys being here.

“As president and founder of Eldor, this day brings me great happiness,” Pasquale Forte, Eldor’s president and CEO, said in a prepared statement. “We are fulfilling a dream in the Land of Dreams. We found a community of genuine people, focused on supporting investment in a practical way and with great commitment: pro business laws, excellent logistics and infrastructure, renowned universities and great quality of life.

“This is just the beginning. Cities and mobility in the future will be very different from how we know them today and Eldor intends to play a leading role within the changes in technology that are currently taking place,” he continued. “We will carry this mission forward with our collaborators and partners, who, like us, believe that a better world is possible where technology is at the service of humanity.”

The company is investing $75 million in the new facility and will guarantee the creation of more than 350 new jobs.

Eldor is a diversified automotive manufacturer. It makes ignition systems, electronic control units, full systems for hybrid and electric vehicles and e-mobility solutions globally, a company announcement notes.

It is headquartered in Orsenigo, Italy and has four other manufacturing plants in Europe, South America and China, and employs about 3,000 people worldwide.

Eldor Automotive Powertrain USA is a subsidiary of Eldor Corporation SpA.

The new plant is part of Eldor’s vision for expansion and growth in the North American market, Forte said. He said the company chose the Botetourt location because of its strategic location, pro-business environment, workforce and proximity to “exceptional” universities.

“I’m proud to see Eldor USA commence operations in a state-of-the-art facility,” Concezze said in a prepared statement. “The new plant will play a critical role in Eldor’s ability to serve the North American market with a local supply base. The fully-automated production line, combined with our talented staff and the expertise of our Sales and Technical office in Ann Arbor, Mich. enables us to deliver unparalleled products and customer service.”

Currently, Eldor supplies 40 percent of the core ignition systems in the global market and 60 percent in the European market.