FRANKFORT, Ky. — Semi-trailer and equipment manufacturer Fruehauf Inc. plans to locate its first U.S. facility in nearly 25 years in Bowling Green with a $12 million investment expected to create 288 full-time jobs in the years ahead.
The new dry van trailer manufacturing operation will locate in an unfinished spec building in Bowling Green’s Kentucky Transpark. The new location will allow the company to better serve its customers in the U.S. and Canada with components primarily manufactured offsite and assembled at the new location. Fruehauf’s production operations are currently located exclusively in Mexico, having closed its U.S. facilities in 1997.
“We are excited to have our U.S. plant investment here in Bowling Green. We have chosen a community with a strong automotive heritage, something we believe our founder, August Fruehauf, would appreciate given the central role he played in the development of the automotive industry and his later induction into the Automotive Hall of Fame,” said Tom Wiseman, president of Fruehauf USA and Canada.
Fruehauf, founded in Detroit in 1890, was the inventor of the semi-trailer. The company’s related products include dollies, platforms, container chassis, tanks, hoppers and turns. Fruehauf is a subsidiary of the Fultra Group, a diversified manufacturing company based in Mexico.
Fruehauf adds to Kentucky’s existing presence of Mexican-owned operations, which includes nine facilities employing more than 3,400 people in the state.
“Fruehauf is the founder of semi-trailers and known the world over for their longstanding contribution to the automotive industry. We are delighted that they have chosen us for the site of their first U.S. manufacturing plant in 25 years,” Warren County Judge/Executive Mike Buchanon said. “They will be joining a group of growing manufacturers in the Kentucky Transpark. Warren County has proven to be the ideal location to grow a company, and we are confident in our ability to support their growth.”
Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott said the company’s new location will have a positive impact throughout the community.
“By investing in Bowling Green, Fruehauf is creating additional opportunities for all of the businesses in our community,” Alcott said. “The impact of their investment will be felt by local retailers, restaurants, banks, service providers and more. Within our community, we understand that we all rise together, and this inspires our pro-growth mindset.”
Ron Bunch, president and CEO of Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, said Warren County has everything Fruehauf needs to succeed in its new venture.
“The Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce worked with Fruehauf to ensure that everything they needed in a site could be found in Bowling Green. Our recent infrastructure investments, central U.S. location and workforce played a key role in their decision to locate in the Transpark,” Bunch said. “The chamber is on hand to continue providing the support Fruehauf will need as they begin operating in our community.”
John Bradley, senior vice president of economic development at the Tennessee Valley Authority, noted the company’s significant job creation through the project.
“TVA and Warren RECC congratulate Fruehauf on its decision to locate operations and create hundreds of job opportunities in Bowling Green. Helping to foster job creation and investment in the Valley is fundamental to TVA’s mission of service,” Bradley said.
Dewayne McDonald, president and CEO of Warren RECC, said he looks forward to working with the company.
“We are excited to welcome Fruehauf to the Kentucky Transpark and look forward to serving them as a Warren RECC member,” McDonald said.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in May preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $4 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $12 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 288 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years.
- Paying an average hourly wage of $21, including benefits across those jobs.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, Fruehauf can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.
For more Kentucky business news click here.