October 1, 2012

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Commerce

Topre Celebrates Massive Expansion

By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times

September 29, 2012

CULLMAN — Topre America just keeps getting bigger.

Local and state officials gathered at the industry’s County Road 222 location in Cullman Friday afternoon to celebrate its fourth and largest major expansion yet — totaling more than $190 million in total investment and creating more than 200 new jobs.

Since opening in 2004, the Japanese-based company has increased its Cullman facility from 440,000 square feet to 620,000 square feet in size. The expansion brings seven new stamping machines, some of which use proprietary techniques. Topre manufactures components for Honda, Nissan and Toyota.

Shortly after he was elected, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley made the trek to Cullman last year for the official announcement of the expansion. With the doors now open, he returned to celebrate the occasion, praising the project as another aspect of the healing that continues in the wake of the April 2011 tornadoes.

“It seems like we’ve come full circle,” Bentley said. “Last August when we made the announcement at city hall, it was a great moment, because north Alabama had gone through so much with the tornadoes. The great thing about being governor, and having been around a while now, is I get to be at the announcement and now come to the opening to see the building and the people at work.”

Bentley also gave a shout out to Cullman and Alabama workers, saying they are one of the greatest assets to help recruit these large-scale industrial projects.

“No company is greater than its workforce and I always want to give credit to our skilled workers in Alabama,” he said. “I’m proud of the workers in this state and our workforce takes pride in the job they do.”

Topre America President Hiroshi Chiba said the decision to locate in Cullman has paid off in dividends for the company, and he looks forward to future growth and partnerships within the community.

“Topre’s stamping technology makes us one of the leaders in the automotive business and our customers all wanted us to locate in a place close to their manufacturing,” Chiba said. “The decision to locate in Cullman was an easy one for Topre.”

Chiba elaborated that the expansion brings with it a cutting-edge approach toward automotive component manufacturing called “hot stamping.”

“This will give cars lighter weight while making them stronger and should result in better safety, gas mileage and a reduced cost,” he said.

Cullman County Commission Chairman James Graves reiterated the history of the project, noting it took an unprecedented amount of cooperation between the city and county to make the recruitment of Topre a success in the early 2000s. He also noted one aspect of the agreement still remains unfinished, in the long-delayed Interstate 65 intersection on County Road 222.

“We saw an opportunity for what Topre could be,” he said. “Topre has kept their pledge to create 300 jobs, so hopefully we can keep our end of the bargain and correct this bottleneck [at County Road 222]. It is needed for Topre and for future growth in this area.”

Cullman Mayor Max Townson praised Topre for its role as a corporate citizen and said he is proud the company decided to call Cullman home.

“Topre has honored every commitment they’ve made to this community and created a lot of jobs in this community, and we’re so proud of that,” he said. “This is the fourth expansion and we’re looking forward to the fifth.”

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