Kentucky Auto Manufacturers Continued Driving Economy in 2015
State now has nearly 90,000 auto workers, billions more in investments coming
FRANKFORT, Ky. (February 22, 2016) – Kentucky’s already strong automotive industry continued its growth in 2015 thanks to continued investments by local, state, national and international firms.
The widespread effects of the industry are illustrated by new statistics detailing jobs, investments and production by automakers, parts suppliers and other auto-related manufacturers.
New numbers from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development show that if lined up bumper to bumper, the more than 1.3 million vehicles produced in Kentucky last year would span more than 4,000 miles. That’s nearly the distance from Frankfort, Ky., to Frankfurt, Germany.
The sustained power and growth of this industry maintained Kentucky’s status as the third-largest producer of cars and light trucks in the country.
But the industry’s economic power is even greater.
The Kentucky automotive industry is one of the strongest in the nation and vital to the state’s economy. In 2015, it:
- Increased production of passenger vehicles by 2.4 percent, to 1,306,989 cars and trucks;
- Employed nearly 90,000 people statewide – up from 85,552 in 2014;
- Increased the number of auto-related manufacturing facilities to more than 480; and
- Announced 79 new projects totaling $2.8 billion in investments.
For example, Toyota debuted its Kentucky-made Lexus ES 350 in October, which was expected to add about 750 jobs in Georgetown. In December, Ford announced that it would invest $1.3 billion to build 2017 F-Series Super Duty trucks at its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, which is expected to create 2,000 jobs. General Motors announced a total of $483 million in facility upgrades at its Corvette plant in Bowling Green during 2015. A $439 million investment announced in May will bring a new 450,000 square-foot paint shop, among other changes, and a separate $44 million, 36-job investment announced in December will increase production capacity for the Corvette Z06 high-performance model.
Suppliers of automotive parts, services and technologies also announced 75 investments in new or expanding locations, which are projected to create 2,593 jobs, including:
- a $13.4 million, 145-job project by Dr. Schneider Automotive Systems in Russell Springs
- a $261 million, 450-job expansion by Bowling Green Metalforming in Warren County
- an $84.5 million expansion by Robert Bosch Automotive Steering Systems in Florence, expected to add 212 jobs.
“The automotive industry is vital to the state, both economically and culturally,” said KAIA executive director Dave Tatman. “These are products that are made here and shipped all over the world, showcasing Kentucky workmanship to a global audience.”
Tatman noted that an economic impact study completed last year by the University of Louisville Urban Studies Institute showed that the Kentucky auto industry:
- Contributes more than $14 billion to the state’s gross state product
- Supports Kentucky families with an average wage that tops $58,000 a year
- Directly or indirectly supports 1 out of every 18 jobs in the state
- Ranks first in the nation in per-capita vehicle production
These statistics were recently presented to Gov. Matt Bevin and a newly-formed bipartisan legislative caucus. The Kentucky Automotive Caucus is made up of state lawmakers who have pledged to work with auto manufacturers on key issues such as business-friendly tax policies, technology development and workforce training. Gov. Bevin declared Feb. 2 “Automotive Industry Day” in Kentucky.
“No matter on which side of the political aisle you sit, or whether you drive a Toyota Camry or a Ford F-Series Super Duty truck, a thriving, growing automotive industry is good for the state and good for the families it employs,” said Tatman.
About the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association
The Kentucky Automotive Industry Association (KAIA) was established to advance and promote Kentucky’s automotive industry by providing leadership and creating collaborative partnerships. As the primary state association designed to unite Kentucky’s automotive manufacturers, suppliers and service providers, KAIA serves as a unifying voice that strives to anticipate and address common challenges and achieve shared goals. By creating a forum for best practice sharing, leveraging the expertise of world renowned automotive-related companies, the association seeks to further grow and strengthen the industry across the Commonwealth.
To learn more, visit http://kyautoindustry.com or follow the association on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/kyautoindustry) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/KYAutoIndustry)