GE Appliances has invested $38 million in a new facility at its Appliance Park manufacturing complex that represents the first new product line to open there since 1957. The revitalized facility, which employs approximately 100 employees, is the first milestone in GE’s commitment to invest a total of $1 billion – $800 million of which is to be invested in Louisville – and create more than 1,300 new jobs in the United States by 2014.
“The journey we started in 2009 to get to this day has been an inspirational one,” said GE Appliances President and CEO Charles “Chip” Blankenship. “To reverse decades of outsourcing by bringing new, industry-leading products and jobs back to the U.S. takes tremendous cooperation, imagination, courage and plain hard work by a lot of people. I want to thank our local union, our employees, government and company officials for having and executing a vision that is bringing these jobs to Appliance Park and creating a bright future for our business.”
Lean manufacturing and a more competitive wage structure for new employees led to the selection of Louisville as the production site for the new water heater instead of China, where an earlier version of the product was made. GE says that not only can the new product now be made more competitively in the United States, but the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater, developed by the Louisville team, has an enhanced feature set, offers better performance with greater energy savings and will be more affordable for consumers.
State and local governments also supported putting the new GeoSpring in Louisville with up to $17 million in incentives to design and build the new energy-efficient facility and other investments that the company will make at Appliance Park during the next several years. According to The (Louisville) Courier-Journal, GE officials also confirmed that they are interviewing 300 new hires in Louisville for the launch of a $180 million production line that will manufacture a redesigned bottom-freezer refrigerator. Production on that line is expected to begin later this month.