Hitachi Automotive Systems America Inc.is investing $74.5 million to establish a manufacturing plant in Berea that will produce electric drive motors for hybrid and electric vehicles.
The new facility will create 130 jobs and will be the third Kentucky location for the company, which has existing plants in Harrodsburg and Berea.
“Not only will this latest expansion bring Hitachi’s Berea workforce to more than 1,070,” said Gov. Steve Beshear, “it also enhances Kentucky’s profile in the advanced hybrid automotive industry. We’re positioning Kentucky to become the epicenter of the advanced automotive manufacturing industry, and strong relationships with companies like Hitachi are a cornerstone of our success.”
Hitachi has purchased a 151,000-s.f. facility on 65 acres in Berea for its latest project. The plant, which used to produce electrical products, will be totally retooled and will now manufacture motors that will power advanced hybrid electric powered automobiles, including the Chevrolet Volt. The company’s future plans include the production of other hybrid vehicle products like lithium-ion batteries and electric inverters to be manufactured in its Kentucky plants.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) has approved Hitachi for tax incentives of up to $4 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program, a performance-based incentive that allows the company to keep a portion of its investment through tax credits and wage assessments if it meets job and investment targets.
KEDFA also approved up to $100,680 in tax benefits through the Kentucky Enterprise Investment Act, which allows companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing equipment.
Operations at the new plant in Berea are expected to begin in late 2011, with plans to ship the first electric motors from the Madison County factory in mid-2012.
The Berea project represents the second major expansion for Hitachi in the past two years. In the fall of 2009, following Gov. Beshear’s economic development trip to Japan, the company announced plans to expand its plant in Harrodsburg. That project represented a $68 million investment and created 145 new jobs.