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European auto supplier Universal Components Group establishes its first North American facility

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) today announced that Universal Components Group (UCG), a UK-based aftermarket automotive parts supplier, will expand operations to the U.S., selecting O’Fallon as the location for its first ever North American distribution center. The expansion project includes a $765,000 capital investment and is expected to create 31 new jobs.

“As a top state for vehicle production, Missouri’s automotive industry continues to rev up and create good jobs for families here in St. Charles County and across the Show-Me State,” said Gov. Jay Nixon. “From major manufacturing plants to small suppliers, Missouri is a hub for next-generation vehicle production and today’s announcement by Universal Components Group builds on this success.”

UCG is a specialist independent wholesale distribution business for commercial vehicle, truck, and semi-trailer components. As the largest independent distributor of aftermarket parts in the UK, the company supplies to more than 1,000 distribution outlets worldwide. Due to its close business relationship with Wainwright Industries in Wentzville, UCG has decided to expand to an approximately 10,000 square-foot warehouse and distribution center in St. Charles County. This will be the company’s first North American location.

“Universal Components Group is very excited about the new location in O’Fallon. The U.S. market is a great opportunity for us. The support we have received from the Missouri DED and our Sister company Wainwright Industries has allowed us to get our distribution footprint in place very quickly,” said David Kernahan, CEO of UCG. “The business model that we are starting with has had proven success and we are confident in the next few years we will be able to grow as we have done in the U.K. UCG will continue to make significant investment into the area that will help us to be successful for a long time to come.”

As a result of Gov. Nixon’s efforts to revitalize Missouri’s automotive manufacturing industry, vehicle production in the state has rebounded. Ford and General Motors have invested a combined $1.5 billion and created thousands of jobs to produce all-new next-generation vehicles at their facilities in Claycomo and Wentzville. Missouri has also seen strong growth among automotive suppliers including Grupo Antolin, Janesville Acoustics, Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems, SRG Global, Adrian Steel, Toyota Bodine, Martinrea Riverside LLC, Leggett & Platt, and Faurecia, which have all announced plans to invest and expand in the Show-Me State over the past two years. Additionally, according to the Center for Automotive Research, Missouri has the 7th most automotive establishments in the nation and has continually been a top 10 state for vehicle production.

To assist UCG with its expansion in O’Fallon, DED has offered a strategic economic incentive package that the company can receive if it meets strict job creation and investment criteria.