Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson, second from right, meets with GEDIA officials at their headquarters in Attendorn, Germany. Also pictured left to right: Co-CEO Markus Schaumburg; Klaus Bierwirth, Group Director of Procurement and Logistics; and Karl G. Neef, President of GEDIA Michigan. Photo: GDEcD

Northwest Georgia’s Whitfield County has landed an $85 million factory from Germany-based GEDIA to make parts for electric vehicles, its second in the U.S. and first in the Southeast.   

The 200-job facility, located not far from the Volkswagen plant across the state border in Chattanooga, Tenn., was announced as Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson traveled in Germany, meeting with investors and late-stage investment prospects at a time when most recruitment has had to go virtual and Americans are still barred from traveling to Europe unless they receive exemptions for business or family reasons.   

“I am thrilled to be here with [CEO] Markus Schaumburg and his team in Germany today to personally, but with a safe distance, thank him and GEDIA for choosing to build their first Southeastern U.S. facility in Georgia,” Mr. Wilson said in a news release.

Mr. Wilson held socially distanced meetings with GEDIA executives including co-CEO Markus Schaumburg during his Germany trip. Photo: GDEcD

Mr. Wilson accompanied Gov. Brian Kemp on a trip to the country in January, where they visited a Porsche plant making the all-electric Taycan and relaunched the state’s European trade, investment and tourism office in Munich at a new location.  

This week they reiterated what they said at the time, that Georgia is growing an “ecosystem” in electric-vehicle manufacturing as the massive SK Innovation battery facility augments the state’s already strong automotive sector.  

“As we are a national leader in manufacturing, logistics, and workforce training, I’m confident this family-owned business will be very pleased with their decision to join the growing electric vehicle ecosystem here in Georgia,” Mr. Kemp said in the release. 

GEDIA, a more than century-old company from Attendorn in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, makes structural components including side-impact beams, chassis parts and bumpers; the Dalton-area factory will introduce a new metal-forming technique to the U.S. market that will allow for parts that offer improved strength in a lighter format. Reducing weight is key to improving efficiency.  

GEDIA will build a new 180,000-square-foot facility on a Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development-certified site, where it will hire management, technicians and production workers.  

The company has worked with a variety of auto brands like Volvo, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and more. Many legacy auto makers have announced significant pivots into electric vehicles over the next decade as demand grows.  

Volkswagen and Ford are set to produce new electric models by 2022, the latter planning to introduce an electric F-150 pickup. SK Innovation has been chosen as the supplier for both, but rival LG Chem, also based in South Korea, alleges the company stole its trade secrets and is asking the U.S international Trade Commission to bar importation of SK’s batteries and components it would need to manufacture in Georgia. Reuters reported that a judge made a preliminary ruling in favor of LG Chem, with a final ruling expected in October.

See Mr. Wilson announce the project from Germany on LinkedIn:

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...