Selma plays role in Alabama’s auto manufacturing boom

Published 8:22 pm Monday, January 23, 2017

Alabama’s automotive industry had a record-breaking year in 2016, and three plants in Selma played a part in it.

Honda Lock-America, Seoyon E-Hwa Interior Systems Alabama and Lear Selma helped set a record of 1,048,597 vehicles produced by Hyundai, Honda and Mercedes Benz.

“They’re just as much of an integral part in the numbers as anything because without those parts, that couldn’t be done,” said Wayne Vardaman, executive director of the Selma and Dallas County Economic Develop Authority. “To make cars you have to have supplies”

Email newsletter signup

According to numbers released from the Alabama Department of Commerce, Hyundai manufactured the most cars in 2016 with 379,021. Honda produced 369,576 vehicles, and Mercedes Benz reaches its annual capacity of 300,000.

Selma’s three plants supplied parts to both Hyundai and Honda. Seoyon E-Hwa and Lear Selma are suppliers for Hyundai, while HLA is a supplier for Honda. Without the parts manufactured at the Selma plants, breaking that record wouldn’t have been possible.

“Any one of those suppliers can shut down a production line by not supplying the parts on time,” Vardaman said. “They’re a part of the supply chain.”

Between the three plants, and estimated 1,000 people are employed, making the automotive industry one, if not the biggest, work forces in Dallas County.

“Selma should be proud that we have 1,000 employees that work to provide our automotive factories with supplies that are put in the cars,” Vardaman said. “Every car sold somewhere has got those parts in it. We’re putting a stamp on all of that.”

HLA, which makes smart locks for Honda’s vehicles, celebrated 25 years in Selma in 2013. Lear Selma, formerly known as Renosol Seating when it first came to Selma, manufactures foam rubber for seat cushions and head rests. Seoyon E-Hwa, which was known as Hanil E-HWA when it came to Selma, is a tier one supplier that makes interior parts for cars, such as door trim, seats and head linings.

“Alabama’s auto industry continues to be a powerful force for the companies that have planted deep roots here, as well as for the skilled, dedicated workers of our state,” said Greg Canfield, secretary for the Alabama Department of Commerce.

1,033,095 vehicles were manufactured in 2015. Canfield said that makes 2016’s record a 1.4 percent increase, breaking 2015’s record. It was the first year the three manufacturers combined to manufacture more than one million vehicles.