In May 2013, Mitsui High-tec decided the time was right to establish its first North American facility. The Japan-based company, which produces motor cores for EVs and hybrid vehicles, spent almost two years investigating locations in Canada, the United States and Mexico, considering all the options.

In the end, it was no contest. Mitsui chose Brantford, Ontario. Mitsui began construction on phase one of the new plant – the first in North America to provide motor cores for eco-friendly vehicles– in March 2016, with production slated to start in May 2017.

"Brantford is the perfect location for this new venture," says Mr. Kazuyoshi Kawano, who is charged with overseeing the project. "Our share of the global market for high efficiency motor cores is between 70 and 80% and we expect the Ontario facility to help us build on that."

Illustration of the new manufacturing facility
Architect's rendering of Mitsui's first plant in North America

Highly skilled workers critical factor in market entry decision

Topping the list of reasons Mitsui chose Ontario is its highly skilled labour. The new plant will feature Mitsui's advanced manufacturing techniques, and access to experienced workers with the right skill set was a critical determining factor.

"Ontario's auto workers are top of the line," says Kawano. "They are educated, dedicated and attentive to detail and these are qualities that are very important to us."

Ideal location to export to the United States

Part of the motor
Mitsui's high-efficiency motor core

Ontario's location in the heart of the North American auto industry was also an important consideration. Mitsui will initially export motor cores to customers in the United States. Ontario provides the ideal springboard to that market, which is booming as OEMs rush to meet stringent U.S. environmental regulations, including Café and Zev.

And the Ontario market itself is not insignificant for Mitsui. Ontario is home to five of the world's largest automakers, including the largest, Toyota, which will be building a hybrid version of the RAV4 at its Cambridge, Ontario plant starting in 2019.

Government a supportive partner

Clinching the decision for Mitsui was a supportive Ontario government that invested $2 million in the $40 million project in the through its Jobs and Prosperity Fund.

"We are very pleased the Ontario government chose to partner with us. This grant demonstrates the government's commitment to attracting foreign investment in green technologies, such as ours, and working with us to ensure our success."

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