Keihin Carolina System Technology will expand its automotive assembly operations in Edgecombe County, adding 42 jobs over the coming three years, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company plans to invest more than $13 million at its Tarboro facility.

“This expansion shows confidence in our workforce, our economy and our state as a great place for world-class employers to invest and grow,” Governor Cooper said. “As a native of eastern North Carolina, I know how critical skilled manufacturing jobs like these are to Edgecombe County and other rural parts of North Carolina.”

Keihin Carolina will hire production associates and technical staff. While compensation will vary by position, average salaries for the new jobs will be $32,230, in line with Edgecombe County’s current average annual wage of $32,642.

N.C. Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of N.C. were instrumental in the expansion project. “This company is a key automotive supplier known for quality and global reach,” said Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland. “Keihin Carolina will add more jobs that keep North Carolina ranked number one for manufacturing jobs in the southeast.”

Keihin Carolina System Technology assembles and tests electrical components for Honda vehicles made around the world. Keihin Carolina has operated in Tarboro since 1998 and currently employs 400 people.

A performance-based grant of $150,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help facilitate Keihin Carolina’s expansion in Tarboro. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to support local government efforts to attract economic investment and create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants are contingent upon a local government match.

“Keihin Carolina System Technology, Inc., Keihin or KCST, as it is known locally, is a leader in the manufacture of Engine Control Units,” said plant manager David Catt. “KCST provides these world-class products with a combination of highly trained associates with advanced robotic technologies and automated manufacturing processes.”

Catt added, “Respect for the individual is key to the Keihin Philosophy. KCST considers its employees to be its greatest assets and invests heavily in their continuing education, training and manufacturing skills development. With the vision of ’Passionate people committed to excellence’ KCST strives to the world class performance in Product Quality, Customer Satisfaction, Employee Fulfillment and Dedication to Corporate Citizenship.”

Engine control units produced at KCST’s 147,000-square-foot plant in Tarboro are shipped to Honda assembly sites in the USA, as well as Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, Thailand and the United Kingdom. The company is a unit of Japan’s Keihin Corporation [Tokyo Stock Exchange: 7251], founded in 1956.

“With more than two decades of being an industry leader in providing system parts that promote conservation, emissions and efficiency goals, KCST is a major local employer that continues to grow, ” said NC Senator Erica Smith-Ingram. “Best of all, this company is an engaged educational and community partner.”

“Young people have access to promising career opportunities in our community thanks to Keihin Carolina,” said N.C. Representative Shelly Willingham. “It is always good to see existing employers expand right at home.”

In addition to North Carolina Commerce and EDPNC, other partners include the North Carolina Community College System, the Town of Tarboro, Edgecombe County and the Carolinas Gateway Partnership.