DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- Johnson Controls Inc., the largest U.S. auto supplier, said it will convert a lead-acid battery factory in Ohio to make an advanced, more profitable type of vehicle battery.
The factory, near Toledo, will be able to make 6 million absorbent glass mat batteries annually by 2013, Johnson Controls said in a statement on Monday.
The batteries, also called AGMs, are used in vehicles with fuel-saving features. The new power sources sell for twice as much as the traditional lead-acid batteries now made at the factory and are three times as profitable, Chief Financial Officer Bruce McDonald said at an investor presentation last month.
AGM batteries have greater power to handle new fuel-saving equipment, such as devices that turn an engine off when a vehicle is stopped.
"We see this market growing to 35 million batteries globally by 2015 and the United States is an important piece of the market," said Alex Molinaroli, president of Johnson Control's battery unit.
Johnson Controls will spend $138.5 million to convert the facility, which employs about 400 people.
The conversion will add 50 jobs, the statement said. Johnson Controls produced more than 120 million lead-acid batteries in the year ended Sept. 30.