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Truck-Lite to move headquarters to Michigan, keep manufacturing in Falconer

Truck-Lite will move its headquarters to suburban Detroit, but will maintain about 90 percent of the jobs it has at its Falconer operations.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. said the truck lighting supplier will move its headquarters to Southfield, Mich. Michigan officials said Truck-Lite plans to invest $4 million in a new building and create 95 jobs after relocating there. The company will receive an $855,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to support the move.

Mark Geise, CEO of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, said Truck-Lite will move 35 corporate jobs to Southfield, and will move eight research and development jobs to Pittsburgh. But Truck-Lite will keep nearly 370 manufacturing jobs at the Falconer plant, Geise said. A Truck-Lite spokesman did not return messages to comment.

Michigan officials said Truck-Lite was relocating its headquarters from Chautauqua County "in order to be closer to the supply chain and have better access to qualified talent." Southfield is home to a number of automotive industry suppliers, including Denso, Lear Corp. and Federal Mogul's global headquarters.

The relocation will also put Truck-Lite's headquarters in a large population center. Southfield has a population of 73,000 and is a northern suburb of Detroit, while Falconer has a population of about 2,300 and is just east of Jamestown.

Oakland County, where Southfield is located, has a labor force of about 666,000, according to Michigan labor data. Chautauqua County's labor force last year averaged 55,000, according to New York State statistics. The 4.2 percent unemployment rate in the Detroit metro area during December was lower than the 4.6 percent jobless rate in Chautauqua County, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Geise echoed what Michigan officials said about the reason for Truck-Lite moving its headquarters to Michigan: "It has to do with finding people."

Southfield, Mich., has offered Truck-Lite a potential tax abatement for qualified investment, expedited permitting, a job fair and staff assistance to support its project.

Truck-Lite was founded in 1955, and now has 10 locations in North America and Europe, with 3,000 employees. In 2015, Penske Corp. sold its majority stake in the business to Koch Equity Development and BDT Capital Partners.

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