Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

May 7, 2013

LG Chem plant to begin production in July

HOLLAND (AP) — An advanced battery maker said it plans to launch commercial production of automotive lithium-ion battery cells in southwestern Michigan in July.

LG Chem Michigan Inc., a subsidiary of South Korean company LG Chem, announced Sunday night that test runs have begun at the facility in Holland and that it anticipates shipping products by the end of the summer.

The plant initially will manufacture batteries for General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Volt, it said, and production volume is expected to increase depending on the electric market and additional contracts. The company said it is working to expand future production.

“LGCMI remains committed to achieving the vision on which our Holland facility was built,” Sain Park, president at LGCMI, said in a statement.

LG Chem drew attention during its 2010 groundbreaking, when President Barack Obama traveled to Michigan for the event.

LG Chem had originally planned to install five assembly lines in Holland, and has set up three lines so far. The company said it is planning on finishing the remaining two lines by September 2015 and will proceed with the plan as they study market demand and other circumstances.

“Our plan is to operate the Michigan plant as a strategic location to meet customer needs, secure future orders and compete aggressively in the ... battery market,” Park said.

In February, LG Chem said it reimbursed $842,000 in funding that federal officials say was misused as part of $150 million in stimulus money. A U.S. Energy Department audit said the company wasted federal funds and failed to move production to Michigan from South Korea.

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