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Sage Automotive Expands SC Facility

Sage Automotive Interiors and the Greenville Area Development Corporation have announced the company’s investment and expansion plans for its Gayley manufacturing facility in Greenville County, S.C. The plan includes portions of Sage’s initial business and operating plan to grow with the automotive industry and includes an estimated $10 million investment by the company, including the addition of about 80 new positions, over the next five years.

Sage Automotive Interiors is one of the world’s leading providers of automotive bodycloth—seating, door panel surfaces, and headliners—to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Global offices and manufacturing locations include the U.S., Japan, China, Brazil, Korea and Europe.  The company is a portfolio company of Azalea Capital, a South Carolina based investment company, and recently announced plans to move its international headquarters into a newly-constructed facility on Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) campus in Greenville.

“This initiative, already partially implemented, will markedly improve and expand our manufacturing capabilities in Greenville County,” said Dirk Pieper, Sage Chief Executive Officer. “It will extend our capacity to serve OEMs the world over as both the domestic and international markets improve during the next several years.”

The Gayley plant is among Sage’s most modern and technologically advanced manufacturing facilities, producing highly innovative products including its YES Essentials line of performance branded automotive fabrics which are used by such automotive manufacturers as Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Hyundai.  The products provide durability, stain resistance and odor elimination that manufacturers demand and consumers crave, noted Pieper.

Sage currently employs about 1,000 associates around the world, including more than 400 in Greenville County and over 200 at the Gayley facility.  While the enhancements and expansion will also better position the plant for potential future growth, the Sage team began the investments in the first few months of operations and will continue to make physical improvements as well as adding new equipment to the Gayley facility, added Pieper.   Sage may begin hiring for the new positions by year-end 2010. When hiring begins, persons interested in job opportunities can visit their local employment office for more information.

“Sage would like to thank Greenville County and the Greenville Area Development Corporation (GADC) for their support in helping plan and execute this initiative,” Pieper added.  “The GADC was particularly instrumental in helping us realize the value of investing and growing within the county.”

Sage officials also cited the Upstate’s strong technology and innovation resources as a contributing factor in deciding to locate the expansion and new positions in Greenville County.  “From CU-ICAR and Clemson University to the Upstate’s robust advanced manufacturing community and deep talent pool, Greenville County is precisely the right location for Sage to expand,” says Pieper.  “Here, we are on the front end of evolving trends in automotive interiors, and the global reach and opportunities of this company make us excited about our future in the Upstate.  We will now be able to grow as our markets do.”

“Sage Automotive Interiors is a world leader in the automotive industry, and had no shortage of options as to where they would place this investment and create these new positions, so we’re delighted that they have selected Greenville County,” said Mike Buiter, Chairman of the Greenville Area Development Corporation Board. “As a global manufacturer with innovative processes, blue-chip customers and a history of success, the company is a valued member of our business community, and a reaffirmation that specialty manufacturing companies can thrive and succeed in South Carolina.”

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