CANTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Minnesota electronics company plans to manufacture flat-screen televisions at a plant in suburban Detroit under a partnership with a Michigan-based business.
Element Electronics plans to hire about 100 workers at the plant in Wayne County's Canton Township under the agreement with Lotus International Co., the Detroit Free Press reported (http://on.freep.com/AzNP7Z ) Tuesday.
Under current plans, the low-priced TVs that are 46 inches or bigger could be made at the plant starting in March. A call center also is planned.
Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Element Electronics' president and owner Michael O'Shaughnessy said the Michigan-made TVs won't cost shoppers any more than if the sets were produced in China.
For decades, TV production has been migrating from the U.S., first to Mexico and then to Asia. O'Shaughnessy said he hopes to reverse the trend and is betting that the U.S. can compete against China.
"We are doing this to set an example," O'Shaughnessy said. "This is the right thing to do."
O'Shaughnessy launched Element Electronics in 2007, importing TVs, DVD players and other electronics. Last year, the company partnered with a Chinese manufacturer that makes TVs for Element Electronics.
The relatively inexpensive televisions from Element Electronics are sold online by major retailers.
O'Shaughnessy, 44, said the cost of making TVs in China and shipping them to the U.S. has been rising in recent years and is expected to increase further. He said it makes economic sense to produce TVs that are at least 46 inches domestically.
Production is planned for a 250,000-square-foot facility owned by Lotus International, which makes and tests electronic and electromechanical parts for the automotive and electronics industries.
The plant will have room for at least four assembly lines but production is expected to begin with one. Parts will come from China, but Element Electronics wants to eventually set up its own supply network in the U.S.