Kentucky’s thriving automotive industry enjoyed a banner year in 2012, with annual production reaching more than one million vehicles for the first time since 2007, before the national economic downturn.
With more than 1,025,000 light vehicles produced, Kentucky ranks fourth in the nation for total light vehicle production, up from fifth in 2011. Kentucky produced more than 477,000 cars, ranking third, and fourth for light trucks with more than 548,000. Additionally, one in every 10 light vehicles produced in the United States during 2012 was made in Kentucky.
“We are moving in the right direction, with more than a million vehicles produced and a ranking of fourth overall in the country for light vehicle production, making this a promising time for the Commonwealth,” said Gov. Beshear. “We need to continue to build on this success, but we can be extremely proud of the top quality vehicles made right here in Kentucky and sold all over the world.”
Gov. Beshear recently visited the Detroit Auto Show to support the press unveiling of the 2014 Corvette Stingray, made in Bowling Green, Ky. General Motors is in the process of a $131 million plant transformation in Bowling Green, which has been the exclusive home to the iconic sports car since 1981.
“When Kentucky’s automotive industry succeeds, the Commonwealth as a whole wins,” said Cabinet for Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes. “Kentucky’s automotive industry is so important to our overall economy, with hundreds of supply companies and thousands of employees spread across all parts of the state.”
Kentucky is home to nearly 450 motor vehicle-related facilities, employing almost 75,000 people. In just the last two years, approximately 135 auto industry location or expansion announcements have occurred in Kentucky, representing 7,200 new jobs and nearly $1.8 billion in new capital investments.
With an investment of $600 million, Ford recently completed the transformation of its Louisville Assembly Plant, one of Ford’s most flexible, high-volume plants in the world. The plant made more than 219,000 Ford Escapes in 2012, helping make the vehicle the second best-selling SUV in its class for 2012. Ford is in the process of hiring for 3,100 new jobs at the facility.
Also, Ford is investing another $600 million in its Kentucky Truck Plant, also in Louisville, to produce the next generation F-Series Super Duty Trucks, as well as the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs. The F-Series boasted sales of more than 645,000 in 2012, continuing a run as the best-selling vehicle in America for 31 straight years.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) in Georgetown, Toyota’s largest production plant outside of Japan, produces the Camry, the best-selling car for the last 11 years, as well as the Camry Hybrid, Avalon and Venza. The plant also produces 4-cylinder and V6 engines and powertrain parts. Toyota announced in 2012 it will invest nearly $32 million in the plant to increase 4-cylinder engine production by 100,000 engines per year at TMMK. Toyota’s North American Engineering & Manufacturing headquarters office and North American parts center is also located in Kentucky.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.ThinkKentucky.com. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ThinkKentucky or follow on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ThinkKentucky.