Gov. Beshear Celebrates Kobe Aluminum’s 10th Anniversary in Kentucky

Japanese-owned automotive supplier invested $180M since locating in Bowling Green

One of Kentucky’s most prominent Japanese companies is celebrating a milestone.

Gov. Steve Beshear today joined company and local officials at Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC (KAAP) to celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary in Bowling Green. The company’s leadership from Japan also participated in the event.

“Today is a celebration of success,” said Gov. Beshear. “Kobe Aluminum has grown in size and significance since establishing in Bowling Green 10 years ago. The company continues to be a crucial part of Kentucky’s thriving automotive industry and a source of quality jobs. I’m honored to join with Kobe’s officials from around the world to celebrate this landmark occasion.”

Since establishing in Bowling Green in 2003, KAAP has invested more than $180 million in its Kentucky operations. The company, which has undergone five additional expansions over the past decade, currently employs almost 400 Kentuckians.

The need for lighter vehicles is expected to accelerate over the next decade as cars and light-duty trucks will be required to increase fuel efficiency to meet stronger Corporate Average Fuel Economy (or CAFE) standards. With demand anticipated to continue growing for aluminum suspensions, KAAP is working to gain more orders for its aluminum forged parts.

Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC, a joint venture of Kobe Steel Ltd., Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation. There are 13 Kobe Steel subsidiaries in the United States, but the Bowling Green location is the only U.S. facility to forge aluminum suspension products for the automotive industry.

The Kobe Steel Group, a global enterprise built around Kobe Steel Ltd., founded in 1905, is engaged in business in a wide range of fields, with its major businesses concentrated on materials and machinery. The material businesses are comprised of iron and steel, welding, and aluminum and copper products, while machinery includes industrial and construction machinery, as well as natural resources and engineering and environmental solutions. Other important businesses are wholesale power supply and real estate. Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Toyota Tsusho Corporation are among the biggest Japanese trading firms.

“We are so happy to celebrate this momentous occasion with KAAP and the Bowling Green community and we look forward to many more decades of fruitful partnership,” said Sen. Mike Wilson, of Bowling Green.

“I am delighted to see Kobe Aluminum celebrating 10 years of doing business in Bowling Green,” said Rep. Jody Richards, of Bowling Green. “When KAAP first located here, I believed the company would have a considerable economic impact. I have been very pleased with their progress and proud to see the growth KAAP has had over the past decade. I appreciate KAAP’s continued investment in the people and economy of Bowling Green.”

“Bowling Green has become a key center for our country’s automotive manufacturing industry, which is a testament to the outstanding business climate we offer,” said Rep. Jim DeCesare, of Bowling Green. “It’s why Kobe Aluminum Automotive Products LLC came to our region 10 years ago, and with further work to make Warren County more pro-business, we look forward to more companies calling our area home.”

“Over the last decade, Kobe has proven to be a valuable asset to the city of Bowling Green,” said Mayor Bruce Wilkerson. “The company’s multiple expansions here show their loyalty to our community. For this, I’d like to thank Kobe, and wish the company the best for many more decades to come.”

“It’s always a bright day in south central Kentucky when we can celebrate a company’s continued success in our region,” said Mike Buchanon, Warren County judge-executive. “Kobe has proven to be an exemplary corporate citizen for the past 10 years and I’m glad to wish them a happy anniversary.”

Kentucky continues to have a strong relationship with Asian companies. The Commonwealth is home to more than 430 internationally based companies, including 170 from Asia. Last year, nearly a third of all new investment and 20 percent of jobs announced in the state was a result of foreign direct investment. Gov. Beshear led a delegation to Japan, Singapore and Taiwan last month.

For more information on Kobe Aluminum, visit www.kobeal.com.

Warren County also has been certified by the Kentucky Workforce Investment Board as a Work Ready Community. The certification is an assurance to business and industry that the community is committed to providing the highly skilled workforce required in today’s competitive global economy.

A detailed community profile for Bowling Green (Warren County) can be viewed here.

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