Moraine Plant to be World's Top Auto Glass Producer

Guests gather at Carillon Park to celebrate first Fuyao windshield

Fuyao Glass America Inc.’s plant — when fully operational — will supply glass for an expected one of every four automobiles on the road in the United States, producing 4.5 million auto glass sets annually for original equipment manufacturers like Honda, BMW, Ford, GM and others. The plant will also make 5 million glass sets for after-market glass suppliers.

Through a translator, Fuyao Chairman Cao DeWang said he has invested about $300 million into the plant off West Stroop Road so far. The Chinese company expects to invest a total of $600 million total into the Moraine plant and a raw glass supplier it bought last year in Mount Zion, Ill.

“I have a secret to share,” Cao said with translator Rebecca Ruan-O’Shaughnessy, Fuyao Glass America’s director of legal affairs. “From the bottom of my heart, I love Ohio, and I love the place where I have invested.”

The affection is mutual, apparently. At a ceremony outside a Dayton History museum at Carillon Historical Park, Cao was at times rushed and surrounded as if he were a rock star. There, Cao and local leaders signed the first windshield produced by the Moraine plant.

Local filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert — makers of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “The Last Truck” — were on hand filming Thursday’s event.

The Moraine plant is expected have about 1,550 employees in three to five years. It will have 400 workers by the end of 2015. Fuyao bought 1.4 million square feet of the plant in May 2014 for $15 million.

To make glass suitable for fitting on vehicles, the Moraine plant will need about 250,000 tons of float glass — the raw material used for fabrication — each year.

Today, the Moraine plant receives all of its float glass from Fuyao facilities in China and about a third of all the equipment the Moraine plant will need has been installed, Cao said.

The first float glass line at a Fuyao-owned plant in Mount Zion should be running Saturday, ready to supply the Moraine plant, Cao said. Another float glass line at Mount Zion should be ready by June next year.

As he sometimes does at public events, Cao singled out Kristi Tanner — senior managing director for Ohio’s private development arm, Jobs Ohio — for special praise. He thanked her for helping to bring him to Moraine, and he noted that Tanner was well aware that Fuyao’s domestic OEM customers wanted the company to expand its presence in the U.S.

This year, Fuyao raised $1.1 billion in a Hong Kong public stock offering, raising the capital the company needs to invest into its new U.S. operations — and then some.

Moraine represents the largest Chinese investment in Ohio and the 9th largest Chinese investment in the U.S., Tanner said. That investment would be significant “for any community in the world,” she said.

And like others, Tanner expressed the hope that Fuyao is only the beginning.