Electric vehicle maker growing even before announcement
Cenntro Automotive Corp., whose arrival in northern Nevada was greeted with a flashy celebration 10 days ago, has been growing its Sparks operations even faster than it expected.
The company, which makes small electric vehicles for uses in locations such as factories, farms and resorts, has launched manufacturing operations in a 78,000-square-foot building at 350 Lillard Drive. The company also has moved its headquarters from New Jersey to the Sparks location.
Cenntro executives first told state officials in May that they expected to hire 47 workers for a manufacturing facility in Sparks.
A month later, Cenntro executives came back to the directors of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and said they had expanded the plans to include four assembly lines, rather than two, as well as headquarters operations. Employment, they said, will total roughly 100 jobs by the end of this year, with an average wage of nearly $21 an hour.
Within five years, Cenntro told state officials, they expect that the facility will employ about 250 people.
The company estimates that it will spend $10 million on real estate and $20 million on equipment for the new facility.
Marianne McInerney, executive vice president of Cenntro, has said the company expects to hire most of its staff from northern Nevada, although it will relocate a few from California, Texas and Mississippi.
She said the company also wants to build a network of suppliers in northern Nevada.
Kevin Neal, the U.S. vice president of operations and human resources for Cenntro, said the company has found abundant supplies of skilled workers to staff the Sparks facility.
McInerney said the company probably will need three times more space than it currently occupies by the time it’s in full production. It has estimated at full production at 35,000 vehicles a year in 2018.
Along with its headquarters operation, Cenntro builds electric vehicles in Lyon, France. It acquired a French company, Brant Motors, in a $50 million deal this summer, and it’s developing its global research-and-design facilities in the French city.
The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada pulled together the team that allowed Cenntro to move quickly after company executives first visited the region in April.
Among those working on the project were Avison Young Western Alliance Commercial Inc., CBRE and IndCor Properties on the company’s real estate. Workforce and research questions were addressed by the University of Nevada, Reno, Truckee Meadows Community College and Nevada JobConnect. Nevada Industry Excellence also advised Cenntro.
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