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McClatchy-Tribune  08/08/2014 11:59 PM ET
North Charleston automotive gear-maker looking to expand, add 50 jobs [The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C. :: ]

Aug. 08--A North Charleston automotive parts-maker is looking to rev up production.

TorqTek Design and Manufacturing LLC is seeking tax incentives from Charleston County as part of a proposed $12 million expansion that will create 50 jobs over five years.

The company started as part of a joint venture with Getrag Precision Gears LLC from 1995 through early 2012, when management bought out the business.

TorqTek's specialty is making metal gears for diesel engines, transmissions and all-wheel-drive systems. Its website says its global customer base includes names such as Caterpillar, Daimler AG and Navistar.

The company's local plant is at 4500 Leeds Ave and employs about 150 workers. It also operates an engineering center in Sterling Heights, Mich., where CEO Friedemann Strasser is based.

Fueled by demand from companies like Harley-Davidson and BMW, TorqTek "has now moved into an exciting new market which includes timing gear production for the motorcycle market," according to a briefing document presented late last month to the county Finance Committee.

The proposed new jobs would increase the company's payroll by $2.35 million, for an average of $47,000 each, the document said.

The county's economic development office is offering to replace what TorqTek would pay in property taxes with a fixed-fee based on a 6 percent assessment rate for 20 years.

Also, the company would be eligible to claim a tax credit of up to $100,000 to offset some of the costs associated with the expansion. That sweetener is performance-based, meaning the company would be required to fulfill its hiring plans.

A local representative for TorqTek could not be reached for comment Friday.

The incentive package goes to County Council on Aug. 26.

Contact John McDermott at 937-5572.


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