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Aisin expanding in Stratford

Tori SuttonStaff ReporterAisin Canada Inc. announced Tuesday it will expand in Stratford by relocating its Woodstock plant to the city.The move, which the company hopes will result in increased efficiency, will take place during the scheduled vacation shutdown week of July 13."It is good news for us," said Mayor Dan Mathieson. "It means a new facility that has been built in Stratford has the opportunity to grow and grow the workforce."Right now it's just as much about retaining employers as it is about attracting new ones. We're happy to be able to retain one."Aisin Canada manufactures automotive door frames and interior parts for Toyota and Lexus. It opened its 12,000-square-metre Stratford plant at 180 Wright Blvd. in 2007 and currently employs about 123 workers.Nearly 100 people work at the 5,000-square-metre Woodstock plant and most are expected to transfer to Stratford.Though no new jobs will be created immediately, Mathieson said there is room for growth and Aisin will likely need to purchase four to six acres of land from the city."They will look at putting an addition on the facility," he said. "The timeline for that? I'm not sure."The deal was finalized on Mathieson's recent nine-day trip to Japan. He had the opportunity to meet with Aisin officials to discuss the future of the company and its potential in Stratford.Bill Boon, manager of human resources for Aisin Canada's Woodstock and Stratford operations, said it comes down to space."Our new 12,000-square-metre plant in Stratford was built on 16 acres and provides an open floor plan with room to grow," said Boon, in a media release. "The plant was built with the capacity to expand, which is what we're doing. Our core customer is strong and growing in Canada, and we expect that our business will continue to grow along with our customer."The company is also appreciates the community it is leaving. Woodstock was the site of Aisin's first Canadian operation."Aisin has developed many relationships based on trust, honesty and integrity with people in the Woodstock community," said Norihisa Inagaki, Aisin president, in the media release. "We have been pleased to be a part of the Woodstock family, and to have Woodstock as a part of ours."Mathieson said he hopes employees from Woodstock will be able to commute to the plant in Stratford.

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