Dutch automotive supplier Constellium formally opened its new plant in the Highland 75 Industrial Park north of Cartersville Thursday. (Photo contributed)

Dutch auto industry executives snipped the ribbon Thursday to open the new Constellium N.V. advanced aluminum automotive structural components and crash management systems plant in Bartow County’s Highland 75 Industrial Park. The 135,000 square-foot plant was constructed with an eye on expansion up to 220,000 square feet. Constellium anticipates having 150 employees on board within two years.

Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor said he was very optimistic that an expansion of the plant would occur in the near future. “They’re right in what they call the sweet spot,” Taylor said. The company is a major supplier to BMW, which has a plant in South Carolina, and Mercedes which has a manufacturing plant in Alabama. Taylor said the company was also seeking to tie into the Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga.

“I am very pleased to be in Georgia today to celebrate the opening of this new plant, its state-of- the art manufacturing capability and world-class team that is committed to work in partnership with our automotive customers,” said Paul Warton, president of Constellium’s Automotive Structures & Industry business unit in a press release.

“On behalf of Constellium, I would like to extend our gratitude to the State of Georgia, Bartow County, our local partners and employees for their strong support in establishing the White, Georgia, plant,” commented Eric Krepps, vice president and general manager of Constellium Automotive Structures North America. “We are honored to be part of your community.”

Aluminum is a now a material of choice in the automotive industry to reduce vehicle weight, improve fuel economy, lower emissions and increase safety.

Constellium is the second European parts supplier to locate in the Highland 75 Industrial Park, joining Austrian-owned voestalpine, another manufacturer of ultra-light, high strength metal parts for the auto industry.

Taylor said the Highland 75 park has another 600 acres available in it. The county is starting work on a new 2 million gallon elevated water tank specifically to serve the park.