News Articles

Japan Prime Minister to visit Toyota site

April 12, 2024

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — The Piedmont Triad will treat Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio to some southern hospitality during his Friday morning visit to the two major facilities owned by Japanese companies.

The HondaJet world headquarters, which the company revealed would be coming to Greensboro in 2007, handles development, production, customer services and sales for HondaJet. The company has had multiple expansion projects over the years, including the opening of a new production facility wing in 2021.  

The Toyota battery manufacturing megasite, announced for Liberty in 2021, will make lithium-ion batteries for Toyota’s hybrid-electric vehicles and batteries for Toyota’s line of fully electric vehicles. The 1,800-acre site will create thousands of jobs with $13.9 billion invested in the project.

Kevin Franklin, president of the Randolph County Economic Development Corporation, said this visit is historic for Randolph County.

“These things just don’t happen every day here in our community,” Franklin said. “And so to have him in our community visiting the site and recognizing the impact that Toyota’s having in our community is fantastic.”

Source: Fox 8

Toyota investing $2 million in STEM education

April 11, 2024

Apr 10, 2024

by Larry Penkava

LIBERTY — Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina has yet to open but is investing $2 million in public schools in the Randolph County School System and Guilford County Schools.

In an invitation-only meeting at the Liberty Showcase Theater, Sean Suggs, president of TBMNC, introduced a program called Driving Possibilities. North Carolina will be the seventh location to have the program launched.

Suggs said Driving Possibilities is student-centered with a concentration on STEM careers, or science, technology, engineering and math. “The focus is on getting young people prepared for careers,” he said.

“STEM education is really important,” Suggs said. “There will be 3.5 million STEM jobs in the US in the next decade. What Driving Possibilities is all about is a promise to young people, outstanding opportunities for all, investing in people.”

Suggs reminded the audience that Toyota is investing more than $13 billion in the battery plant and creating 5,000 jobs. “The future is extremely bright,” he said. “Students are our future. We’re walking the walk when it comes to community give-back.”

Congresswoman Kathy Manning stressed the importance of Toyota’s investment here and the importance of young people being able to have good-paying jobs. 

Driving Possibilities, she said, “is not just education but helping with the problems students face. The $2 million investment is the initial (phase) and will do a lot for Randolph County and Guilford County schools.”

The program is for preK-12, Manning said. “You can’t wait until they're 12th graders to explore their academic interests and prepare for well-paid careers.”

Phil Berger, leader of the NC Senate, called Driving Possibilities “another step in the transformation of central North Carolina. Toyota is going the extra mile for students, employers and the local economy.

“Manufacturing is not what it used to be,” Berger said. “We’ve got to make sure workers have the background with a proper education to build a qualified workforce.”

NC Rep. Neal Jackson said Toyota was “leading the way. Toyota believes this is something to invest in, but we need others to follow that example. We can make investments.”

Dr. Whitney Oakley, superintendent of Guilford County Schools, said, “When students thrive, we all thrive. We need a pipeline of workers. Toyota has a vision to invest in students to be better prepared for success. We look forward to the opportunities we will explore together.”

Dr. Stephen Gainey, superintendent of the Randolph County School System, thanked Toyota, saying the new program will “get kids ready for the future. It’s all about STEM in many ways. We have to develop STEM abilities in students.”

Later, Suggs talked about how the program will be implemented: “We’ll work with the school systems, counselors, teachers to see what their needs are and figure out how kids can be helped.” That includes providing food, health care and transportation — which Suggs called a holistic, wrap-around approach.

Gainey said he was excited about the opportunity to “expose children to what the future holds. We’ve been working with Toyota over the start date and final plans.”

In the early stages, Gainey said, “We can use the initiative as a feeder program, start at the elementary school in a feeder program. We don’t want to wait until high school, but let them figure out (beginning at a young age) what they want to do with their life.”

As for the relationship between Toyota and the school systems, Gainey said, “They’re embracing us and we’re embracing them. Toyota wants to be a part of the community. When they talk about children, that’s huge in my book.”

Source: Randolph Hub

FUJIHATSU & TOYOTSU Battery Components, North Carolina LLC (“FTBC”) Announces Production Operation in Liberty

February 26, 2024

Liberty, NCFTBC, a newly-formed joint venture between Fujihatsu Tech America, Inc. and Toyota Tsusho America Inc., has announced a new production operation in Liberty to manufacture and sell prismatic aluminum cell cases and cell covers with discharge valves to meet the increasing demand for automotive batteries, particularly with the growing adoption of electrified vehicles (EVs) like hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The manufacturing facility is scheduled to be completed this year, with mass production starting in 2025. The initial production volume is planned to be 2.7 million units/month increasing to 3.6 million units/month after January 2026. The new operation will support Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina.

FTBC’s projected capital investment over five years will exceed $60 million in machinery and equipment, and the company will create at least 133 new jobs over that same five-year period. The company’s competitive wages and benefits package will offer an attractive option for job seekers.

“On behalf of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners I want to welcome FTBC to our County,” stated Darrell Frye, Chairman of the Randolph County Board of Commissioners. “The $60 million investment and 133 new jobs will further provide job opportunities for our citizens, especially for young families that will sustain our economy for years to come. The presence of FTBC is a further acknowledgement of the business-friendly attitude of Randolph County, our quality of life, and the work ethic of the Randolph County employee. We are pleased to add FTBC to our proud list of corporate citizens.”

FTBC was established in July of 2023 and the joint venture was publicly announced earlier this month. The new company is 60% owned by Fujihatsu Tech America, Inc., which will lend its technical expertise to the project, and 40% by Toyota Tsusho America Inc., which will provide administrative and operational support.

FTBC will receive training support from the North Carolina Community College System; the training will be administered locally by Randolph Community College.

“On behalf of FTBC, we are grateful for Randolph County’s and North Carolina’s warm welcome and support of this project,” said Marissa Baxter, FTBC Human Resources Manager. “We are excited to join Randolph County’s thriving business community and look forward to growing with the Piedmont Triad into the future.”

“We are excited to welcome another EV battery-related company to our community,” stated Randolph County EDC president Kevin Franklin. “FTBC will help to further diversify our industrial sector, and we are confident in their ability to thrive here in Randolph County.”

Support from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Community College System, and Randolph Community College has been vital to FTBC’s announced investment and job creation.

The Randolph County Economic Development Corporation is a non-profit organization that works with industrial clients in the county. The EDC’s mission is to support a growing healthy economy so that local residents have diverse quality job opportunities through the attraction of new businesses to the area and the retention and expansion of existing business and industry. The EDC is a proud partner of the NC Carolina Core.


Town of Liberty Awarded $325,000 Grant for Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. Warehouse Project

December 7, 2023

Press Release: December 7, 2023


Town of Liberty Awarded $325,000 Grant for Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. Warehouse Project

Asheboro, NC – Today, the Town of Liberty was awarded a $325,000 NC Commerce Building Reuse Grant by the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority. The grant will assist with the renovation of an 85,314 square foot building located at 7280 Liberty Park Avenue in Liberty. The project will put the long-vacant building into productive use for the first time since its construction in 2001. Total investment in the project, including the grant funding, is projected to exceed $7 million including building renovations, upfits, and machinery and equipment.

Facilitated by the grant, Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. (TAI) will create forty-one new jobs in the project building. The facility will serve as an offsite warehouse to support Toyota Battery Manufacturing North Carolina’s (TBMNC) nearby production of hybrid electric vehicle batteries. The renovated warehouse space will be open by 2025 when TBMNC begins production. TAI anticipates Monday through Friday operations with two shifts.

This project marks the first announced direct TBMNC supplier jobs coming to Randolph County.

“Liberty was very excited with the recent education announcement from Toyota Tsusho and humbled with the generous donation given to Teach for America for the Eastern Randolph High School mentoring program,” said Liberty Mayor Filmore York. “With the $7 million investment in upfits and equipment in the vacant warehouse facility and the commitment to create 41 new jobs in Liberty, we look forward to ongoing collaboration and partnership with this outstanding company.”

TAI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyota Tsusho Corporation, founded as a trading and supply-chain specialist of the Toyota Group. Headquartered in New York City, TAI has been operating in North America since 1961. It has evolved to a multi-business enterprise today that combines international trading of various industrial products including metals, machinery, chemicals, and electronics, with an expansive range of domestically targeted functions including supply-chain services, logistics, intermediate goods processing, and engineering solutions. TAI has regional offices, subsidiaries, and affiliates across North America in 78 locations and over 8000 employees, including four employees in its Greensboro office.

“Toyota Tsusho is proud to team up with the state and local community on revitalizing the Liberty Park Avenue warehouse,” said Joel Logan, TAI Senior Vice President, who oversees Sustainable Business Development. “We believe more is possible when we work together, and this collaboration is a great example of that. Toyota Tsusho appreciates the support of the town of Liberty, Randolph County, EDPNC, and NC Commerce and we are excited to grow our business in the region through this investment.”

“It has been a pleasure working with Toyota Tsusho officials, both in Japan and in the U.S., in support of this project,” stated Randolph County EDC president Kevin Franklin. “The company has an outstanding track record in both business and community engagement as evidenced by their recently announced advocacy in bringing Teach for America to Eastern Randolph High School. TAI is a great addition to our corporate community, and we look forward to a productive partnership for many years to come.”

In addition to support from the Town of Liberty, the following entities have been critical to the success of this project: North Carolina Department of Commerce, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, North Carolina Community College System, Randolph Community College, and Randolph County.

The Randolph County Economic Development Corporation is a non-profit organization that works with industrial clients in the county. The EDC’s mission is to support a growing healthy economy so that local residents have diverse quality job opportunities through the attraction of new businesses to the area and the retention and expansion of existing business and industry. The EDC is a proud partner of the NC Carolina Core.



Klaussner Furniture shuts down operations

August 8, 2023

Asheboro, NC 

Source: Triad Business Journal

After 60 years in business, Klaussner Furniture Industries Inc. of Asheboro announced yesterday it will shut down all operations.
"As the result of challenging and unexpected business circumstances impacting our operations, Klaussner Furniture Industries, Inc. and its direct and indirect subsidiaries must unexpectedly wind down the operations," the company stated in a release announcing the shutdown.
"Klaussner's lending source has unexpectedly refused to continue to fund the Company's operations. This outcome was not reasonably foreseeable, but due to these unexpected circumstances, Klaussner can no longer sustain its operations. As a result, Klaussner has made the difficult decision to permanently cease operations and is providing as much notice as possible."
In 2017, New York-based private investment firm Monomoy Capital Partners acquired Klaussner Home Furnishings.
Klaussner said it has started the process of closing all of its facilities entirely. The company states on its website that it manufacturers over 70% of its products domestically through its five production facilities in North Carolina.
According to TBJ research, Klaussner employs about 925 at its Asheboro production facility at 405 Lewallen Road.
"Klaussner is working to provide information and resources to assist with next steps for displaced employees as it becomes available. This information will be communicated directly to employees via the contact information we have on file."
In 2020, Klaussner Furniture sold three of its Triad facilities and more than 265 acres for approximately $50.6 million. Klaussner sold its headquarters building at 405 Lewallen Road and its Prestige Fabricators facility at 965 N.C. 49 in Asheboro, as well as a warehouse and distribution site at 4306 U.S. 220 Business in Randleman, to asset manager AR Global of New York, with an agreement to lease back the three Triad buildings from AR Global as well as a wood fabricating facility in Candor that was sold for another $11 million-$12 million.
Last August, Klaussner promoted David Cybulski to president and CEO. Cybulski had served as interim CEO since July following the retirement of Terry McNew and had been the company's chief financial officer since 2019.