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750 more jobs due at Dayton-area auto-glass plant

By Randy Ludlow

Fuyao Chairman Cao Dewang and Gov. John Kasich announce that the Chinese glassmaker is increasing its investment in Ohio.

A Dayton-area expansion by a Chinese auto-glass manufacturer is welcome news to Columbus-based Safelite Auto Glass.

Fuyao Glass America will expand its still-in-the-works Moraine plant to supply glass to Honda, GM and others by adding production lines for aftermarket windshields and glass for sale to Safelite and others.

That represents an investment of $130 million and the creation of 750 jobs, on top of the more than $200 million investment in the former General Motors plant and the promised 800 jobs announced a year ago.

Fuyao’s plant is expected to open this year.

Fuyao Chairman Cao Dewang and Gov. John Kasich made the announcement yesterday.

“We have a lot to celebrate. I think you scored a couple of touchdowns with that announcement,” Kasich told Cao in a reference to Ohio State University’s national-championship victory over Oregon.

Safelite will benefit from having a supplier so close to home to help service its North American market, said Dino Lanno, senior vice president/supply chain for the auto glass-replacement company.

Safelite already is a major buyer of Fuyao glass, which is imported from China, he said.

“Fuyao having a footprint here will lead to better collaboration, the faster arrival of products and reduce lead time so we can better serve customers,” Lanno said.

Safelite has 11,000 employees in North America, including 1,600 in Ohio. With more than 500 locations, it is the largest auto glass-replacement company in the U.S.

John Minor, president of JobsOhio, Kasich’s privatized economic-development agency, announced that Fuyao will receive $4 million in grants to train employees and otherwise assist the aftermarket portion of the glass plant.

Fuyao received a $5.6 million JobsOhio grant last year in exchange for the initial commitment of 800 jobs. The project is billed as the largest Chinese investment in Ohio and one of the 10 largest in the U.S.

Former Gov. James A. Rhodes “brought Japanese investment to Ohio,” Kasich said in a reference to Honda’s presence in the state, “like John Kasich brought Chinese investment to Ohio.”

Kasich said he might visit China on a trade trip to call on Fuyao executives and inform other Chinese companies that Ohio is open to further investment.

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