• In the last 5 years, nearly 6.2 million
    vehicles have been produced in Kentucky

  • The automotive industry employs nearly 100,000
    workers at over 500 establishments

  • 1,316,137 Kentucky-made vehicle
    were produced in 2016

  • $5.4 billion in Kentucky-made vehicles and
    parts were exported in 2016

  • Kentucky is the #1 vehicle-producing state
    per capita, and #3 overall

Questionnaire: Matt Bevin

What opportunities do you see to further strengthen Kentucky’s position in the global automotive industry?

My running mate and I have both worked in manufacturing - I own a manufacturing company and Jenean worked as a crew supervisor on the production floor at General Motors and worked her way up to a plant manager. We understand the struggles faced by our manufacturing industry from every level.

Our state is extremely well-positioned to be a hub for manufacturing with our low utility costs, DHL and UPS facilities, abundance of natural resources and our connectivity to other states via road and waterways. But, we need real reform - especially tax reform - to make Kentucky more manufacturing-friendly and to attract new companies and new talent.

We also need to fight back against federal regulations that have killed thousands of jobs in KY. As Governor, I will challenge government overreach into our state by federal agencies and I will not enforce onerous federal regulations that are economically detrimental to our state and harmful to our citizens. The Obama Administration’s one-size-fits-all regulatory issuance that does not take into account scale of risk is especially burdensome to small business manufacturers who help drive our economy.

I support passing Right-to-Work legislation. Right to Work legislation would help make Kentucky a more attractive place for new businesses. Not passing such legislation, puts us at a disadvantage to bordering states such as Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia, and other states in our region with whom we compete for jobs. Kentucky is the only southern state that has not enacted right to work legislation and we can no longer afford the opportunity cost of being an outlier.

Lastly, we need to increase career and technical education (CTE) opportunities for students and working adults. Through CTE, we can develop a highly-skilled, highly-qualified workforce which will attract more businesses to move to Kentucky, including in the automotive industry.

How will your administration utilize and support economic associations such as KAIA?

KAIA is a valuable resource to understanding challenges faced by the automobile manufacturing industry, as well as in finding solutions to problems and concerns. I will work with KAIA to strengthen the automobile manufacturing industry, and KAIA will always have a seat at the table in my Administration.

What are 3 ways your administration will seek to enhance workforce development in Kentucky, particularly in regard to advanced manufacturing?

There is a strong correlation between education, a highly skilled workforce, and economic stability within a state. More highly skilled workers means we attract higher value jobs, in turn, decreasing unemployment and increasing wealth creation. Expanding career and technical education (CTE) opportunities prepares more students for successful careers and grows better paying jobs in numerous fields.

As Governor, I will incentivize and support an education system that results in a highly employable workforce. This includes integrating more CTE courses into secondary education and increasing well-structured vocational training programs to develop workers with the technical and life skills necessary to contribute to and thrive in a strong economy.

Under our Administration, Kentucky will adopt policies that allow education and training to be guided by the labor market, with the flexibility for schools to work with local businesses to help students develop real-world skills. Our Administration would seek to give more control to local communities, school boards, educators, and parents over curricula so they can align education with the skills employers need on both a local and global level.

Our Administration will also make a deliberate effort to partner our technical schools and training centers with private manufacturers for resource sharing and training purposes. We will be committed to developing these types of mutually beneficial relationships to ensure a highly-skilled workforce and to make the transition from postsecondary education to employment as smooth as possible for both students and employers.

What is your plan to keep energy costs low and reliable in Kentucky?

I would begin aiding our coal industry by not enforcing onerous federal regulations that are economically detrimental to our state and harmful to our citizens. This includes EPA regulations destroying our coal industry.

A Bevin-Hampton Administration would also work to reform our judicial review process that holds up coal production and nuclear power plants in frivolous lawsuits and bureaucratic red tape.

Growing other areas of Kentucky’s energy sector should also be incentivized. Our state is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. We can lower the cost of energy, decrease our dependence on foreign oil, and create badly needed jobs by exploring and developing these resources.

What changes, if any, will your administration recommend for Kentucky’s tax code regarding businesses?

Kentucky desperately needs comprehensive tax reform. Both personal income tax and corporate income tax rates must be gradually decreased. This will leave a higher percentage of earnings in the hands of job creators and Kentucky families and will make us more competitive with surrounding states.

I believe we should begin immediately to phase out the inventory tax in Kentucky. And, we need move from taxing production to taxing consumption.

We must reduce the complexity of our existing tax code. Our new tax code must be simpler, easier to understand and easier to comply with.

Questionnaire: Jack Conway

What opportunities do you see to further strengthen Kentucky’s position in the global automotive industry?  

Our automotive industry has deep roots in Kentucky – employing tens of thousands of our family members, friends and neighbors and contributing billions to our economy. As Governor, I’m committed to making the business environment in Kentucky better for our automotive industry and for all employers across the state.

Improving the business environment for employers like our automotive industry includes investing in infrastructure across the Commonwealth because it’s critical that our businesses have dependable, safe and efficient roadways. My plan also includes realigning our workforce training program to ensure that workers are getting the skills they need to get hired, especially in areas like advanced manufacturing where employers have a need for more skilled workers. I’m also committed to continuing my work as Attorney General in combating federal overreach that jeopardizes Kentucky’s low-cost energy because I know how important it is for employers across the Commonwealth.

Finally, I will hold the line on taxes to keep Kentucky’s businesses competitive. As Governor, I’ll conduct a top-to-bottom review our tax incentives to make sure that businesses have the tools they need to expand and create more good paying jobs.

How will your administration utilize and support economic associations such as KAIA?

Groups like the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association are an important voice for employers across Kentucky. KAIA provides critical insight into the priorities and needs of the automotive industry and the industry’s employees. As Governor, I will bring groups like the KAIA to the table when making important decisions about Kentucky’s budget and economy, because our employers know best what they need to thrive.

What are three ways your administration will seek to enhance workforce development in Kentucky, particularly in regard to advanced manufacturing?

Building the best workforce is an important part of my plan to create more Kentucky jobs because too many of our employers can’t find enough skilled workers to fulfill their needs. As Governor, I’ll aggressively expand existing successful apprenticeship programs, like the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME), with the goal of being the first state in the nation to have a coordinated, multi-industry statewide apprenticeship program to help workers earn while they learn.

We also need more and better employer engagement and coordination between government, our education community and labor organizations to do away with redundant training, and focus on workforce development programs that meet the demands of today’s employers. As Governor, I’ll request that colleges within the Community and Technical College System conduct an annual assessment to identify the top three leading industries for growth in their communities to ensure that they are providing nearby employers with customized training programs that meet their needs.

To meet our workforce challenges, we also need to ensure that Kentucky’s students are making smart decisions about their futures. As Governor, I’ll implement a new program for high school juniors and seniors to help them do exactly that. The Kentucky PLAN (Pathways to Learning, Achievement, and New Opportunities) Program will provide students with information about regional economic opportunities, growing industry sectors, and best practices to evaluate higher education options. The program will also connect schools and students with local businesses and education leaders who can speak directly to students and educate them about their options following graduation.

What is your plan to keep energy costs low and reliable in Kentucky?

As Attorney General, I was proud to stand up for Kentucky consumers and businesses to keep our energy prices low. I advocated for Kentuckians before the Public Service Commission, preventing nearly $1 billion in utility rate increases for our families. And I fought the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when it threatened Kentucky’s low-cost energy prices through federal government overreach – suing the EPA and winning a case before the Supreme Court just this year to stop the agency from forcing regulations on Kentucky that would raise our energy costs and jeopardize jobs.

As Governor, I’ll continue to challenge the EPA’s regulatory agenda when it threatens Kentucky’s jobs and businesses. And I’ll appoint commissioners to the Public Service Commission who understand the importance of keeping our energy prices low, because I know our low-cost energy attracts and keeps businesses and jobs in our state.

What changes, if any, will your administration recommend for Kentucky’s tax code regarding businesses?

Our tax code needs to be reformed to make sure we are in the best position to grow Kentucky’s economy and create more good-paying jobs. I’m committed to holding the line on taxes and I support eliminating the state portion of Kentucky’s inventory tax to keep our Commonwealth competitive. Any attempt at broader tax reform needs to done through bipartisan cooperation with input from groups across Kentucky.


U.S. Transportation Leader Points to Kentucky’s Key Role in Nation’s Auto Industry

Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez among Speakers at AutoVision 2015

LOUISVILLE, KY (September 15, 2015) – Kentucky’s inaugural AutoVision Conference wrapped up Tuesday with a full day of future-focused presentations from auto industry experts and leaders, including U.S. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Victor Mendez.

US DOT Deputy SecretaryMendez delivered the conference’s keynote address, highlighting for a crowd of more than 260 attendees the significant impact of the auto industry – both in Kentucky and the nation.

“The stats are amazing what the industry does from an economic standpoint. It’s pretty incredible here in Kentucky,” Mendez said. “It’s pretty amazing in terms of the effect that all of you have on the economy.”

A longtime advocate for technology and innovation in transportation, Mendez described how advances in the auto industry are supporting the Transportation Department’s primary goal: safety.

“For the last day-and-a-half, you all have heard about innovation in transportation, ranging from design innovation, performance innovation and industry work force innovation,” Mendez said. “I want to talk about the most critical type of innovation that we can think of, and that is safety. At the U.S. Department of Transportation, safety is our No. 1 priority. It always has been, and it always will be.”

Mendez led a long list of national and international automotive leaders who came to Kentucky to discuss the future of automotive manufacturing.

AutoVision, an event created by the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association, represents the first time national and state industry leaders from major OEMs, suppliers and service providers have gathered in Kentucky to discuss the state of the industry and the prospects for its future.

The presenting sponsor for the event was the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

Among the list of automotive manufacturers and suppliers represented at the conference were Akebono Brake, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., Robert Bosch Automotive Steering, and Toyota.

“The conference exceeded all expectations,” said KAIA Executive Director Dave Tatman said. “Our speakers brought fresh perspectives to topics of common interest and challenged traditional thinking about how we forge new roads ahead for our industry. We can’t wait for next year’s event.”

Get more information and register at www.autovisionconference.com.

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 and 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 or Twitter.

Economic Impact Study

Auto Industry Contributes $14 billion to Kentucky

We all know that Kentucky and the automotive industry have formed a strong partnership for decades. Now we also know just how fruitful that relationship really is.

What we now know is that the industry contributes $14.3 billion to Kentucky’s gross state product (GSP) and directly or indirectly provides employment for 136,500 Kentuckians. This and other industry facts came to light after a six-month economic impact study conducted by researchers at the University of Louisville Urban Studies Institute.

“This report underscores what many automotive manufacturers and suppliers have known for years – Kentucky is a great place to do business and a great place to call home,” Gov. Steve Beshear said. “It details the tremendous contributions our automotive industry is making, bringing billions of dollars into our economy and supporting more than 136,000 high-paying jobs.”

As Gov. Beshear notes, not only is the industry bringing an abundance of jobs to the state, but with an average salary of $58,280 for manufacturing employees, those jobs often include high wages. The success of Kentucky’s auto industry isn’t just about the big name companies either.

“Kentucky’s automotive industry is more than Ford’s assembly plants in Louisville. More than GM’s Corvette plant in Bowling Green. And more than the Toyota and Lexus operations in Georgetown,” Beshear added. “This vital industry includes regional parts suppliers, tool-and-die shops, warehouses, trucking companies and metal-stamping operations throughout the Commonwealth.”

Other noteworthy findings from the study include:

  • Roughly $1 out of every $13 in the state’s economy is tied to the automotive industry.
  • Kentucky’s automotive manufacturers and suppliers contribute $6.1 billion to payrolls annually.
  • Auto-related businesses directly employ 85,552 workers at more than 470 establishments across the state.
  • Roughly 1 out of every 18 jobs in the state is supported by the direct, indirect or induced effects of automotive-related manufacturers.
  • $1 out of every $14 in state taxes results from the automotive industry. Annually, $488 million in state income and sales taxes come from industry-supported jobs.
  • Twenty percent of the state’s exports in 2014 were tied to the auto industry at a value of $5.9 billion.
  • Over the past five years, employers in Kentucky’s auto industry have announced $5 billion in investments and created nearly 20,000 new jobs.

While the statistics reflecting the auto industry’s impact on the state have been a major talking point over the past month, the study also reveals why Kentucky has been such a great fit for the constantly expanding industry.

First and foremost, Kentucky’s location has been an influential factor, as it is the shortest average distance to assembly plants in other states in the region, which makes it a prime location for automotive companies, especially Tier 1 suppliers who serve multiple manufacturers. Logistics plays a part as well, with the state’s interstates and parkways allowing companies to stay connected, and suppliers to have easy access to manufacturers. Auto facilities have primarily been locating in counties with four-lane, high-speed roadways.

There’s plenty of value in moving a company to Kentucky as well, with low utility costs, which, on average, are among the lowest in the nation. The growing workforce is the final piece of the puzzle unveiled by U of L’s study, noting that modernized automotive manufacturers are seeking a higher-skilled labor pool. Many auto companies have located in Kentucky to take advantage of customized training for potential workers through community and technical college systems.

“Automotive manufacturers and suppliers do business in two-thirds of Kentucky’s counties, and many are expanding their operations in the Commonwealth to meet the growing global demand for cars and trucks,” said Dave Tatman, executive director of KAIA. “We are pleased to provide the first clear picture of Kentucky’s auto industry to show citizens and leaders across the state who we are, where we are and how we are making Kentucky a national leader in automotive-related manufacturing and production.”

The Kentucky Automotive Industry Association (KAIA) commissioned U of L’s study, and the results showed exactly what the organization knew before the study began: Kentucky’s auto industry is thriving.

Download the complete economic impact study here.

AutoVision 2015

The Road to the Future of Auto Starts Here

Self-driving cars. Lighter-weight vehicles. Long-lasting electric batteries. These products are being made a reality by the world’s greatest automotive minds. Many of those innovative thinkers will come together to share what’s next for the auto industry at the inaugural AutoVision Conference. The event will celebrate how far the automotive industry has come, and, more importantly, envision where it goes from here.

The two-day conference will be held at the Louisville Marriott Downtown on Sept. 14-15, and will feature more than 20 experts and industry leaders providing insight into how the auto industry can continue to grow while adjusting to an evolving marketplace.

Special guests will include Sheryl Connelly, manager of global consumer trends and futuring with Ford Motor Company, Mustafa Mohatarem, chief economist for General Motors, Doug Cain, CEO of Mubea North America, Pierre Abboud, president and CEO of Bosch, Kristin Dziczek, director of the industry and labor group with the Center for Automotive Research and many others.

Along with the diverse group of experts who will be in attendance to share insight into the future, guests will also have the option of getting an up-close look at the industry. Tours of Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant will be offered, putting some of the changing technology on display.

“Over the last year, KAIA has taken great strides toward becoming an influential part of the future of business in the Commonwealth,” said Dave Tatman, executive director of KAIA. “With this inaugural AutoVision Conference, we want to emphasize that it is our goal to ensure that Kentucky and the auto industry continue to be closely intertwined for the foreseeable future.”

“Kentucky and the automotive industry have had a thriving partnership for decades, and the chance to host an event like AutoVision 2015 is an incredible opportunity for both the state and the industry,” said Larry Hayes, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. “The Cabinet is proud to have the opportunity to sponsor this event, which will bring together some of the best minds in the industry to discuss the future of auto manufacturing in the state. This conference will also be a great way for the Cabinet and industry leaders to network and build connections to ensure Kentucky’s automotive industry has even greater success in the future.”

With the industry enjoying great success in the current market, it’s easy to see why there is so much optimism for the future. AutoVision 2015 will begin the discussion of how to build upon that success, and how we can ensure the continued growth of the automotive industry together.

To register or to find out more about AutoVision 2015, visit www.AutoVisionConference.com.

Regional forums a success

Regional forums a success
More than 130 members and non-members attended six regional forums last month to learn more about the automotive industry’s economic impact on Kentucky. Attendees engaged in good discussion on topics including:

  • Workforce development: Finding workers with the right skill sets is an ongoing challenge, and the current skilled workforce is retiring. Fittingly, the forums were held on campuses of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System – and many KCTCS staff attended.
  • Image and perception: Manufacturing is not the dark and dirty work it might have been decades ago. Industry leaders, with the assistance of KAIA, need to educate tomorrow’s workforce about the plants of today.
  • Operational challenges: Concerns were expressed regarding wage pressure and the cost of workers’ compensation premiums. Technology has quickened the pace of engineering changes, putting pressure on supply logistics.
  • Opportunities: Small businesses enjoy the connections that KAIA affords them. Kentucky’s community banks, low utility costs and economic development entities give the Commonwealth an edge.

Part of KAIA’s mission is to provide a unified voice to advocate for the Commonwealth’s auto industry, and the forums provided plenty of feedback as we shape our platform and message going forward. We ask that our current members help us reach out to others who would benefit. We are stronger working together than separately.

Download the KAIA Forums PowerPoint

Economic Impact of the
Automotive Industry in Kentucky

Message from the Executive Director


Momentum continues to build for your Kentucky Automotive Industry Association! First and foremost, I want you to be aware of a major event coming up, and it’s one you absolutely will not want to miss. AutoVision 2015 will be our very first KAIA annual automotive summit. The event will be an exciting showcase focusing on the bright future of the auto industry in Kentucky and beyond. You can find additional details about the event in this newsletter. We are working very hard to ensure that our first conference has a global feel to it, with a large number of internationally known guests to address the audience. Make your plans now!

As you are no doubt aware, we recently released the results of our Automotive Economic Impact Study. The results of the study will assist KAIA and our industry members in educating the public about the importance of the industry and to develop strategies to further expand automotive-related manufacturing in the state. KAIA and industry leaders throughout the Commonwealth are looking to change the way Kentuckians view manufacturing, and the amazing results reflected in the economic impact study are the perfect place to start. Highlighted in this newsletter is commentary from Gov. Beshear and others who have had the opportunity to review the key points of the study and talk about the importance of our industry to the Commonwealth.

Following the release of the study, we proceeded into a round of regional forums throughout the state to roll out the specific details of the study to interested parties. These forums allowed KAIA to share information about business opportunities and to address any concerns industry leaders have about the rapidly changing auto industry. Thank you to the many members who were able to come out and join us. Many industry stakeholders who were not previously familiar with KAIA attended the sessions as well, and several have now joined our organization. The conversations and dialogue that took place at these forums will be invaluable as we move forward with our strategic planning for the future.

In closing, thanks again for your membership and your support of KAIA. We are very proud of the impact our industry has on the economy of Kentucky, and each and every one of you are playing a role in that. Encourage your circle of colleagues in other automotive companies to consider joining us today. And, as always, don’t hesitate to call me if you have any questions or comments.

See you in Louisville!


German Automotive Supplier iwis Opens Manufacturing Operations in Murray

MURRAY Ky. (March 6, 2015) – Governor Steve Beshear today joined company and local officials to celebrate the opening of German automotive supplier iwis in Murray.

iwis (pronounced ee-vis and written in lowercase) will create 75 new, full-time jobs and invest more than $12.5 million in the Commonwealth.

“We are very excited to celebrate iwis and the opening of its first U.S. facility,” said Gov. Beshear. “The fact that world-class companies continue to choose Kentucky as the destination for their global operations speaks volumes for the pro-business climate and workforce quality we have to offer. There’s no doubt that iwis will do big things in Kentucky for years to come.”

The 119,000-square-foot facility, located off U.S. Highway 641 North in Murray, will manufacture timing drive systems for engines. iwis is currently working on projects with several motor vehicle manufacturers, and the start of production is planned for this summer.

The company first announced its move to Kentucky in 2012, several months after Gov. Beshear met with iwis officials in Germany. iwis began hiring employees earlier this year and will continue to do so through 2016.

“Murray was chosen as the new iwis location in the U.S. because we found there some very interesting and good advantages,” said Johannes Winklhofer, iwis managing partner. “Kentucky has a very professional infrastructure, qualified people for a high-tech production company and highly motivated local authorities. Gov. Beshear visiting iwis in Germany also played a big role in our decision.”

Formed in Germany in 1916, iwis, a family-owned company, first began with success in the production of bicycle chains. It eventually became the iwis Group, a global technology leader in high-quality automotive and industrial chains. The company now has more than 1,000 employees at 22 facilities worldwide.

The company is Kentucky’s most recent addition to an already dynamic and vibrant automotive industry, comprised of more than 460 motor-vehicle related establishments. Those facilities, which include four major auto assembly plants, employ 85,000 people across the state.

The location of iwis also adds to Kentucky’s success in attracting foreign direct investment. Kentucky is home to more than 430 internationally based companies, including 175 from Europe. 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.

“Our state has become a leader in automotive supplies manufacturing,” said Sen. Stan Humphries, of Cadiz. “To see yet another international company open a manufacturing center and create opportunities for skilled workers – this time in Murray – is great news. I welcome iwis to Kentucky and look forward to working with them as they get established here.”

“iwis has already become an important part of our community,” said Murray Mayor Jack Rose. “In addition to creating good employment opportunities, the company has taken steps to buy as many local goods and services as possible. We look forward to a long and productive partnership between iwis and the community. We are proud to have them here.”

“iwis has worked closely with our economic development corporation to ensure that its startup is a success,” said Calloway County Judge-Executive Larry Elkins. “As the company obtains contracts and grows, I feel certain that it will be a great employer in the community, and the community will help iwis be strong and profitable.”

To encourage the investment and job creation in Murray, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

For more information on iwis, visit www.iwis.com.

A detailed community profile for Murray (Calloway County) can be viewed here.

Kentucky Continues to Drive the Auto Industry

Kentucky’s thriving automotive industry enjoyed a banner year in 2014. The Commonwealth produced nearly 1.3 million vehicles and continued to have the highest motor vehicle output per capita in the United States and third in overall production.

Both OEMs and suppliers made significant investments in their Kentucky operations last year. In total, 71 automotive-related companies announced projects, which are expected create nearly 3,400 jobs and result in more than $750 million in new investment. More than a fifth of Kentucky’s new investment and nearly 20 percent of new jobs announced in 2014 came from motor vehicle-related projects.

More Kentucky-made cars and trucks are being enjoyed around the world. Last year, the state exported a record of nearly $6 billion in vehicles, parts, bodies and trailers, making automotive Kentucky’s second-largest export. These products were shipped to more than 100 countries.

Executive Director Update (3/26/2015):

Greetings from our KAIA Board of Directors and myself! I trust that this note finds you looking ahead to a great spring. 2015 has gotten off to a terrific start for many in Kentucky’s automotive industry, and we have some exciting opportunities in the months ahead.

KAIA continues to gain positive attention across the Commonwealth and around the world. During the recent session of the Kentucky General Assembly, we had the chance to review our organization’s mission and objectives before the state legislature. We followed those presentations with a legislative reception in Frankfort.

As I mentioned in our previous newsletter, we have engaged the Urban Studies Institute at the University of Louisville to conduct an economic impact study of the Kentucky automotive industry. We expect that study to be completed in April.

We want to share the results of this study with you firsthand. Our team will host a series of regional workshops across the state this summer. The study’s authors will present their findings, answer questions and discuss the industry’s future.

We’re also excited to announce our first-annual Kentucky Automotive Summit in September 14-15. We expect a large turnout of interested participants, and several high-profile, national speakers have already expressed interest in presenting to the group. More information will be coming soon.

Although our organization is only a few months old, KAIA is already making an impact on Kentucky’s automotive industry. Please continue to encourage your automotive colleagues from other organizations to consider joining us for the cause.

All the best,


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