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Local company cuts 50 jobs in Hebron

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Posted at 8:08 AM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-01 15:04:13-05

HEBRON, Ky. – A Northern Kentucky supplier of automotive glass is relocating its North American headquarters and about 50 jobs to Michigan.

AGC Automotive, which is part of Tokyo-based Asahi Glass Co. Ltd., recently signed a lease for a 27,000-square-foot headquarters in Farmington Hills, near Detroit.

“Most Hebron associates were offered the opportunity to remain with the AGC team,” said Jim Bossley, vice president of human resources at AGC. “Approximately a third of our associates will remain with the team.”

The new office will combine “several locations and business functions into a single location,” according to a press release by Friedman Real Estate Solutions, a brokerage firm that handled the lease.

AGC is the first automotive company since Toyota Motor Corp. to announce plans to move a North American hub out of the region. Toyota is in the process of relocating roughly 1,600 jobs to Texas and Michigan.

But Northern Kentucky’s automotive sector has been on the comeback trail since Toyota’s 2014 announcement, said Dan Tobergte, president and CEO of the economic development agency Northern Kentucky Tri-Ed.

In fact, Northern Kentucky had its fourth best year since 1987 in total capital investments by automotive suppliers, including an $85 million project announced in December by the German supplier Robert Bosch Automotive Steering. The region's total auto-related employment stands at 9,894, accounting for 32 percent of all manufacturing jobs in Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties.

“We’re seeing two huge capital investments” in the Kentucky automotive industry, Tobergte said, “the biggest being Ford in Louisville and the Lexus line adding on to Toyota in Georgetown. That’s causing some nice spillover benefits to the automotive suppliers that are in this region.”

Bossley said AGC Automotive selected Detroit as its new U.S. home because of its proximity to major customers, including General Motors, Ford, Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen. The new location is closer to an existing research and development facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The new headquarters will be fully operational by this summer.

“The center will encompass all direct and indirect services within one location to support strong communication and enhanced capabilities,” Bossley said. “Relocations will be taking place beginning in April 2016 and expected to be complete by year end 2016.”