GKN Driveline has committed to a five-year, $179-million capital-investment program at five manufacturing operations in North Carolina, taking advantage of several state and local subsidies in four counties. The manufacturer indicates the investments will add 302 new positions to its payroll in the state, where it already employs an estimated 2,700 workers.

GKN Driveline designs and manufactures a variety of automotive driveline components and systems, including constant-velocity joint (CVJ) systems, all-wheel drive systems, trans-axle systems, and eDrive systems. It is one of four business units of the British engineering group GKN plc.

“GKN Driveline is a global leader in the automotive industry and our innovative all-wheel-drive and eDrive technologies position the company for growth in the coming years. North Carolina is an important part of our strategy, with strategically located facilities and an outstanding workforce,” according to a statement by CEO Phil Swash.

The manufacturer indicated the investments would support its expanding All-Wheel-Drive and eDrive product lines for several North American automotive manufacturers. GKN supplies parts to BMW, Ford Motor, General Motors, Honda, and Toyota, among other automakers. In addition to other inducements to the expansion plans, North Carolina and the Southeastern U.S. is a growing center for the automotive supply chain, particularly for transplant automakers.

The expansions are supported by Job Development Investment Grants in four counties worth up to $3.127 million, over 12 years. According to the N.C. Department of Commerce, GKN plans to add 159 jobs manufacturing (forming, machining, sub-assembly and final assembly) position at plants in Sanford, Mebane, and Timberlake, NC — where GKN produces driveline parts for AWD and RWD passenger vehicles.  

A new GKN Driveline distribution center in in Maiden, NC, will at 143 new positions.

According to Chet Roslanowick, GKN’s v.p. - business development for the Americas, the four counties in which the plants are located are providing additional incentives, and the North Carolina community college system is providing employee training programs valued at $500,000 in all four counties.