HAGERSTOWN, Ind. – A Wayne County automotive manufacturer will add a new facility in the southern United States in the coming years, but plans to retain its corporate headquarters and most existing product lines in the area.

Autocar Trucks, which employs about 170 part- and full-time workers at its plant in Hagerstown 551 S. Washington St., said Wednesday it will  invest $120 million in a site in Jefferson County, Ala.

The plant will produce heavy-duty cab-over-engine trucks — including trash and recycling units — which are currently being built at its Hagerstown plant.

Joe Jennings, president of United Auto Workers Local 3050, which represents the hourly-wage workers at the plant, told The Palladium Item the company is expected to retain all its workers at the Hagerstown plant, but production rates are expected to decline.

“We hope to retain all our (associates), but there will be a production rate decrease,” he said. “The company has said (other unit) volume is growing very rapidly and will be built in Hagerstown.”

He said production of the medium-duty and terminal tractor will remain in Hagerstown. Some of the heavy-duty models are still expected to be produced in the area, as well.

Jennings said following the announcement, the mood of the employees at the Hagerstown plant was somber.

He said that’s because employees are disappointed that the facility will stop producing most of the Xpeditor truck line, which is the name given to the heavy-duty truck line that will now be built in Alabama. The truck line was launched in 2008, five years after the company moved to Hagerstown.

“It hurts … but we are excited for the future and to see (this truck line expand),” Jennings said. “We’re going to continue to do what we do, and that’s to build trucks the best way we can.”