Cellphone pioneer Motorola announced Wednesday that it’s opening a Texas manufacturing facility that will create 2,000 jobs and produce its new flagship device, Moto X, the first smartphone ever assembled in the U.S.
The company has already begun hiring for the Fort Worth plant. The site was most recently unoccupied but was once used by fellow phone manufacturer Nokia, meaning it was designed to produce mobile devices, said Will Moss, a spokesman for Motorola Mobility, which is owned by Google.
“It was a great facility in an ideal location,” said Moss, who said it will be an easy trip for Motorola engineering teams based in Chicago and Silicon Valley, and is also close to the company’s service and repair operations in Mexico.
The formal announcement came at AllThingsD’s D11 Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., from Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside.
Moss said the Moto X will go on sale this summer. He said he could provide few details, citing priority secrets. He said the idea from the beginning was to bring manufacturing back to the U.S.
“It’s obviously our major market so, for us, having manufacturing here gets us much closer to our key customers and partners as well as our end users,” he said. “It makes for much leaner, more efficient operations.”
But Motorola will still have global manufacturing operations, including at factories in China and Brazil.
Motorola has always had a presence in Texas – I have a cousin that used to work for them in San Antonio some years ago – but bringing a manufacturing plant here, especially one that will be making their latest smartphone models, is a nice coup. Even better, as the story notes, Motorola came to this decision without being bribed by various incentives and tax giveaways. Rick Perry is claiming credit for it, of course, but it makes you wonder, if Texas is as dang good as he’s telling everyone it is, why we ever needed to throw money at businesses in order to steal them away from hellholes like New York and California.
Motorola isn’t the only company looking to move high-tech manufacturing back to the US. Part of that is the cost of overseas shipping outweighing the savings on outsourcing – foreign labor is getting more expensive, too – and part of it is about keeping a tighter rein on intellectual property. It’s good news for medium to long term US employment, assuming we can produce enough sufficiently educated workers to staff the plants. At least until the robots take over, anyway.