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Johnson Controls to invest $245 million in North American battery plant expansion

Johnson Controls Inc. will invest $245 million in six new battery production lines in the U.S. and Mexico between 2016 and 2020.

The Glendale-based multi-industrial company announced it will make the investments to increase its capacity to produce absorbent glass mat (AGM) batteries that are used in start-stop vehicle systems, and which also provide more power for the growing electricity needs of modern vehicles.

"Due to increasing power needs for vehicle accessories and safety functions, along with changing environmental standards, automotive batteries play an increasingly important role in today’s vehicles,” said Joe Walicki, president of Johnson Controls Power Solutions.

Once all of the new production lines come online in 2020, Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) will double its AGM battery capacity to 11 million units per year.

In combination with a previously announced $138 million project in Toledo, Ohio, this project will bring Johnson Controls' North American investment in the next four years to more than $380 million.

AGM batteries in start-stop vehicles are said to help improve fuel efficiency up to 5 percent. Start-stop systems are expected to make up 50 percent of the North American auto market by 2020.

Johnson Controls is still finalizing the details of where the new lines will be added, and how many new jobs they will create, but each one will add significant employment. The company operates about 20 battery manufacturing, recycling and distribution facilities throughout the U.S.

“Between 2015 and 2020, Johnson Controls will invest, in total, more than $780 million globally to increase our AGM manufacturing capacity,” said Walicki. “Johnson Controls is the leader in battery manufacturing and we are committed to investing in our factories, our employees and our customers, to ensure that we remain the leader when it comes to innovative technology, quality products and strong customer partnerships.”

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