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Why DENSO is Spending Big in East Tennessee

Last year, auto supplier Denso Corp. began investing $1 billion in its 3,700-worker plant in Maryville, Tenn. The expansion, which requires 1,000 new jobs, will allow Denso to move production of advanced components for electric and connected vehicles from Japan to the U.S. as its diverse North American customer base shifts to such new-era technology. The Maryville plant, which opened in 1988 with about 100 employees, will make EV inverters, radar components and data control modules.

Bill Foy, Denso International America’s senior vice president of engineering, said the move was prompted by Denso’s philosophy of meeting customer demand through localized production. Automotive News Correspondent Stephanie Hernandez McGavin spoke with Foy, 53, in April about Denso’s expanding U.S. footprint and the lessons it has learned.

Q: For a parts supplier, $1 billion is a substantial plant investment. Why expand on this scale — and why in east Tennessee again?

A: The real meaning of the investment is about the whole industry’s change. It’s related to electrification and to advanced safety products like radar. Denso is completely committed to ensuring we’re keeping up with the trends.

We already have a very strong footprint in Tennessee. What was really important for us is that we have a lot of resources there we can use, versus starting a brand new plant somewhere else. Our Tennessee facility is already producing electrical components. All that infrastructure was already there, so it was natural for us to want to work within that footprint.

Q: What concerns did Denso have before going ahead with an expansion of this size?

A: We already employ a lot of people in that area. One concern was whether we have enough reach to attract the number of new people we need for this. That’s where we worked with local government to ensure that the roads leading into the plant and the access to it were going to improve. They also allowed some support for training of associates.

Q: Did the tough talk out of Washington on imports influence Denso’s decision to bring production here?

A: No. I don’t think there’s any political aspect. Denso’s philosophy is to localize products and produce where our customers are. So what we’re doing fits our basic philosophy that we’ve had for a long time. When you look at an inverter, for example, it’s very heavy. The closer we can get it to our customer, the lower the cost we can create for them, and we want to bring value to our customer. It’s very important for us to be local — it’s the natural DNA of Denso.

Q: Did you consider building on undeveloped land?

A: We did consider all options from the beginning. But as we explored it, we really led ourselves to this decision.

Q: Can you share the thought process? Why would expanding Maryville be better than building a new site elsewhere?

A: Infrastructure that’s already in place is a strong factor for hiring and training. But we also already have knowledge and capabilities there that we can lean on, including a lot of equipment that’s automated and very high tech. For the people who do the maintenance for that equipment, that expertise is also there already. That’s been a very big lesson learned for us — that it’s very important to have that type of expertise.

Q: Denso has been producing in North America for a long time. Are there plans for new U.S. sites in the future?

A: I think we’re happy with the footprint we have now, and we have localized almost all of the products that we produce. What it’s really about now is looking toward the future and changing over to new products. When you go to a connected, autonomous, shared, electrified vehicle, that means different products will be needed as time moves on. But without the volume of North America growing, I don’t see us really moving into greenfield areas.

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DENSO Honored by Ford Motor Company at the 20th Annual World Excellence Awards as a Top-Performing Global Supplier

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (June XX, 2018) DENSO Corporation, a leading global automotive supplier, and Michigan Automotive Compressor Inc. (MACI), a joint-venture between Toyota Industries Corporation and DENSO, were honored as top-performing global suppliers for Ford Motor Company at the 20th Annual World Excellence Awards. Only 88 companies were selected as finalists from thousands of Ford suppliers globally.

“I would like to extend my personal congratulations to DENSO and its associates, the entire MACI team and the Ford sales team for achieving this award. At DENSO, our core focus is producing and developing high-quality, innovative products and technologies that address the changes happening within the automotive industry while exceeding customers’ expectations,” said Thomas Esser, vice president, Global Ford Sales, DENSO.

DENSO Corp. was awarded Ford’s World Excellence Award for Quality. MACI was recognized for the third time, receiving this year the Gold World Excellence Award for excelling in the categories of Cost, Quality, and Delivery. MACI manufactures automotive air conditioning compressors with magnetic clutch for Ford and other customers like Honda, GM, Chrysler and Toyota. As the main component of the air conditioning system, MACI’s compressors play an integral role in keeping drivers and passengers comfortable in warm weather.

“Every associate in MACI works toward one goal – to satisfy our customers,” said Joe Shaughnessy, General Manager, Business Planning, Human Resources, Information Systems, Production Control at MACI. “This is our top priority. It is so gratifying to receive such an elite award that recognizes our team’s collective efforts.”

DENSO’s products and systems are an important part of nearly every major vehicle make and model around the world. From air conditioning compressors and retrofittable driver status monitors to autonomous services and electrification, DENSO is developing innovative solutions that are shaping the future of transportation.

“Our World Excellence awards recognize the outstanding achievements of Ford Motor Company’s top-performing suppliers around the world,” said Ford’s Hau Thai-Tang, executive vice president, product development and purchasing. “Suppliers like DENSO and MACI are key to Ford’s continued success as we work toward our goal of becoming the world’s most trusted mobility company.”

About DENSO Corporation

DENSO Corp., headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan has more than 220 subsidiaries in 35 countries and regions (including Japan) and employs approximately 170,000 people worldwide. Consolidated global sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, totaled US$48.1 billion. Last fiscal year, DENSO spent 8.8 percent of its global consolidated sales on research and development. DENSO common stock is traded on the Tokyo and Nagoya stock exchanges. For more information, go to www.denso.com, or visit our media website at www.denso.com/global/en/news/media-center/. 

About Michigan Automotive Compressor Inc.

Established in 1989, Michigan Automotive Compressor Inc. (MACI) is a joint-venture between Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) and DENSO Corporation. It is the largest manufacturing employer in Jackson County, with over 1 million square feet, and more than 1,050 associates. MACI sells approximately 6 million compressors of all types each year, for many of the world’s most popular vehicles. GM and FCA-Chrysler are the largest customers by volume.  Ford, Toyota, Honda, Freightliner and John Deere also are customers.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 202,000 people worldwide. For more information regarding Ford, its products and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

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DENSO Invests in U.S. Startup Metawave to Deliver Smart Radar for Autonomous Cars

KARIYA (Japan) ― DENSO Corporation has taken a stake in Metawave Corporation, a U.S. startup company that develops cutting-edge, millimeter-wave radar sensing technologies to detect vehicles and pedestrians. Metawave announced on May 15, 2018, it raised an additional $10 million from DENSO, Toyota AI Ventures, Hyundai Motor Company, and other strategic investors.

DENSO will harness Metawave’s technologies to accelerate the development of a smart automotive radar system for autonomous cars. Metawave has the core technologies for expanding radar detection range, improving recognition performance and reducing size.

To create a safe future of mobility, DENSO has been working to develop sensors that serve as a vehicles’ “eyes.”  Radar, a critical component found in nearly all autonomous cars, drastically improves the vehicle’s ability to recognize near-by conditions and objects.

A millimeter-wave radar sensor detects surrounding conditions using radio waves in the millimeter-wave band. The sensors are used in the radar systems to apply the brakes when a collision is unavoidable, and keep a certain distance from a preceding vehicle when driving. DENSO’s millimeter-wave radar sensors are used in Toyota’s Alphard and Vellfire models, which were released in January 2018 in combination with a vision sensor for recognizing vehicles and pedestrians.




DENSO develops technologies and products to build a safe and secure future of transportation for all people around the world.  The goal is to create a society free from traffic accidents.

Profile of Metawave Corporation

1. Name: Metawave Corporation
2. Establishment: August 2017
3. Location: 3333 Coyote Hill Rd, Palo Alto, CA U.S.A.
4. Representative: Maha Achour
5. Business description: Development of in-vehicle millimeter-wave radar sensors and data communication antennas

 

About DENSO Corporation

DENSO Corp., headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan has more than 220 subsidiaries in 35 countries and regions (including Japan) and employs approximately 170,000 people worldwide. Consolidated global sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, totaled US$48.1 billion. Last fiscal year, DENSO spent 8.8 percent of its global consolidated sales on research and development. DENSO common stock is traded on the Tokyo and Nagoya stock exchanges. For more information, go to www.denso.com, or visit our media website at www.denso.com/global/en/news/media-center/. 

About DENSO in North America

DENSO is a leading global automotive supplier of advanced technology, systems and components in the areas of thermal, powertrain control, electronics and information and safety. With its North American headquarters located in Southfield, Michigan, DENSO employs more than 23,000 people at 28 consolidated subsidiaries and 4 affiliates across the North American region. Of these, 25 are manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the United States alone, DENSO employs more than 17,000 people in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. DENSO’s North American consolidated sales totaled US$10.9 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018. For more information, go to www.denso.com/us-ca/en. Connect with DENSO on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DENSOinNorthAmerica. 

About DENSO Corporation

DENSO Corp., headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan has more than 220 subsidiaries in 35 countries and regions (including Japan) and employs approximately 170,000 people worldwide. Consolidated global sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, totaled US$48.1 billion. Last fiscal year, DENSO spent 8.8 percent of its global consolidated sales on research and development. DENSO common stock is traded on the Tokyo and Nagoya stock exchanges. For more information, go to www.denso.com, or visit our media website at www.denso.com/global/en/news/media-center/.

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